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Iconoclastic writings that sparked the Sixties 
revolution, by the author of Flashbacks and 
The Psychedelic Experience 


Timothy Leary, PhD 

The Politics of 



by Timothy Leary, Ph.D. 

Ronin Publishing, Inc Box 1035 Berkeley CA 94701 

Published by 

Ronin Publishing, Inc. 

Post Office Box 1035 

Beikeley, California 94701 

The Politics of Ecstasy 

ISBN: 0-91417 1-33-X 

Copyright 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1990 by Timothy Leary 

(originally published by G.P. Putnam in 1968) 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmit- 
ted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including 
photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval 
system, without written permission from the author or the publisher 
except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review. 

Printed in the United States of America 

Ronin (^.Tedits 

Project editors: Sebastian Orfali and Beverly Potter 

Text and illustrations editor: Michael Horowitz 

Typography and production: Sebastian Orfali 

Special thanks to the Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library 
for supplying illustration materials. 

(cover) Photograph of Timothy Leary which appeared in 5(9L maga- 
zine at the time of his interview in 1967 (see "Soul Session"~chap. 14). 

to Abbie Hojfman 

Previous editions of 

U.S. : New Yoik: Putnam, 1968; CoUege Notes & Texts, 1971; Salt Lake 
City: Magus Studios, 1984 (40 copies only). 

U.K. : London: MacGibbon & Kee, 1970; Paladin, 1970. 

Gennanv : Politik der Ekstase: Hamburg: Wegner, 1970; Linden: 
Volksverlag, 1981. 

France : Politique de VExtase: Paris: Fayard, 1973. 

(Source: M. Horowitz, K. Walls, B. Smith, An Annotated Bibliography of 
Timothy Leary, The Shoe String Press, 1988). 


by Michael Horowitz 

The Politics of Ecstasy was originally published in 1968 ^that turbulent 
year that registered the assassinations of King and Kennedy, the escalation 
of the carnage in Vietnam and the anti-war protests in American cities, 
violent confrontations between police and students in Paris, Prague and 
Chicago, the demise of the Haight-Ashbury and the radicalization of hip- 
pies, the rise of the Youth International Party, and the beginning of the 
Nixon regime. 

The same year saw the publication of Timothy Leary's first books from 
mainstream publishers: High Priest and The Politics of Ecstasy. In 1968 
Leary and his family moved from Millbrook, New York to Laguna Beach, 
California. He was planning to challenge Ronald Reagan in the next gu- 
bernatorial campaign, but six months before Election Day, 1970, he found 
himself in prison on drug charges facing thirty years' incarceration for 
miniscule amounts of marijuana. In sentencing Leary and denying bail 
while he appealed the charges, an Orange County judge indicated the real 
reason for the absurdly long sentence by holding aloft in his courtroom 
copies of publications containing articles published in this book. 

The Politics of Ecstasy is a collection of some of Leary *s most significant 
essays and lectures on psychedelic drug e>q)erience and the social and 
political changes that rang in its wake. About three-quarters of the chapters 
had previously been published in magazines, journals and underground 
newspapers, sometimes with variant tide and text; the remainder were 
written expressly for the book. The present edition is augmented with 
graphics from the print media of that lively era. 

Illustrations appearing in this edition of 


(numbeis refer to page facing illustration) 
(cover) The author photographed by SOL magazine at the time 

of his interview in 1967 (see "Soul Session" chap. 14). 
(pviii) Dust jacket of first edition of The Politics of Ecstasy, 
(pl3) "The Seven Tongues of God" appeared under the titie 

"The Religious Experience: Its Production and 

Interpretation" in The Psychedelic Reader (1965). 
(p64) "The Politics of Consciousness E7q)ansion" (reprinted 

here as "The Fifth Freedom tiie Right to GetHigh") first 

appeared in The Harvard Review (1963). 
(p65) "The Politics and Ethics of Ecstasy" speech at New 

York's Town Hall was published in Cavalier (July 1966). 
(p70) Front cover of Art Klep*s satire on three leaders of the 

Psychedelic Movement (1964). 
(p71) "Psychedelic Sessions" Flyer announcing Leary and 

Metzner's Psychedelic Sessions (1965-66). 
(pl02) The Psychedelic Experience, a guide based on the 

Tibetan Book of the Dead, was published in 1967. 
(pl03) "The Magical Mystery Tour" appeared in an anthology of 

writings about the Beaties published in 1968. 
(pl68) "America Hates Her Crazies." Front page of the 

East Village Other (ApiiilAS, 1966). 
(pl69) "Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop In." Front page of 

Berkeley Barb {Sept 1-7, 1969). 
(pl76) Leary was a co-editor and frequent contributor to 

The Psychedelic Review, 
(pl77) "Do You Want to Have a Party." Advertisement in 

Berkeley Barb (July 11, 1969). 
(p222) Cover of the first privately printed edition of 

Start Your Own Religion (1967). 
(p223) "Death of the Mind." Advertisement for a "psychedelic 

celebration" in the San Francisco Oracle (Dec. 1966). 
(p290) The Leary-Littwin LSD debate was transcribed in the 

M.I.T. journal Innisfree (1967). 
(p291) "Turn On/ Tune In/ Drop Out." Front page of 

The East Village Other May 15-June 1, 1966. 
(p318) A public discussion of alternative lifestyles amongst 

Alan Watts, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder and Leary was 

sponsored by the San Francisco Oracle (1967). 
(p3 19) "God and Timothy Leary." Cover of Ave Maria 

featuring Leary interview (1966). 


by Tom Robbins 

If, on the face of it, the phrase, "politics of ecstasy," seems an 
oxymoron on the order of "wildlife management," please remember that 
in the Sixties virtually all political activism was connected, directly or 
indirectiy, to the ingestion of psychedelic drugs and therefore was shaped 
by, if not centered in, ecstatic states of being. 

In addition, there were the politics that plagued our ecstatic 
enterprises, themselves, no matter how we twisted and squirmed to 
escape it. Many a commune, demonstration or love-in wrecked on the 
twin shoals of property and control. Then, too, there were the political 
jQres kindled by the friction of latter-day ecstasy cults rubbing up against 
the stiff hide of the old iguana-brained Establishment. 

It is an understatement to write that Timothy Leary was privy to 
this stormy marriage of the mundane and the rapturous. Simultaneously 
observer and participant. Dr. Leary analyzed events around him even as 
he helped make them happen. Boundlessly energetic, keenly insightful, 
he was uniquely qualifi^ to woric both sides of Heisenberg Street 
Imagine him studiously taking notes even as he skated on one foot along 
the vibrating rim of an indole ring. 

For those whose image of Dr. Leary has been formed by shallow 
and often malicious reports in the press. The Politics cf Ecstasy provides 
a more accurate picture of the brave neuronaut whom I believe to be the 
Galileo of our age, albeit a Galileo possessed of considerable Irish 
blarney (which makes him all the more agreeable). Of more importance, 
perhaps, is the light this book casts upon the century's outlaw decade at a 
time when Sixties revisionism is epidemic. 

Whether out of ignorance or cowardice, far too many historians 
writing about the period are avoiding any discussion of those mind- 
altering substances without which the Sixties, as we know them, would 
never have occurred. Dr. Leary, as might be expected, leaves no turn 

Ultimately, the Sixties may be viewed as a staging area for the 
next leap forward in human evolution. We have left them behind only as 
panicky climbers might flee their base camp for a temporary descent back 
into the dark and decadent valley of their origins. While millions may 
have retreated into materialism and ftindamentalism, however, Timothy 
Leary has continued up the mountain, his ropes coiled Uke a helix, his 
gaze on hyperspace. 

For those of us who lag behind, his as-it-happened observations 
of where we've been are as crucial as they are entertaining. And they are 
entertaining, indeed, indeed. 

Dust jacket of first edition of The Politics of Ecstasy. 




by Timothy Leaiy 

ECSTASY: The experience of attaining freedom 
from limitations, either self-imposed or exter- 
nal; a state of exalted delight in which normal 
understanding is felt to be suipassed. Fh>m the 
Greek "ex-stasis". By definition, ecstasy is a 
ongoing on/off process. It requires a continual 
sequence of "dropping out." On those occa- 
sions when many individuals share the ecstatic 
expeheixe at the same time, they create a brief- 
lived "counter-culture." 

SYNONYMS: Euphoria, high, rush, delight, 
bliss, elation, enchantment, joy, nirvana, rap- 

STASIS: Standing, a standstill 

Please allow me to reintroduce this book called, so prophetically, 
The Politics Of Ecstasy, I can modestly praise this magnificent, auda- 
cious, oxy-moronic, oxy-generic title because it was given to me by 
Abbie Hoffman, to whom I re-dedicate this book. 

I am writing this on November 9, 1989 the day after the Berlin Wall 
came crumbling down, maridng another wonderfiil chapter in the history 
of the post-political Youth Revolutions of the last two decades. 

You saw the faces of the young East Germans who, for the first 
time in their lives, were e3q)eriencing freedom. You saw the faces of the 
young West Germans who danced on the top of The Wall gleaming with 
exultation as they watched their Eastern relatives turn-on to the hit, tune- 
in to the rush of freedom, and drop-out of the past. 

You saw it on the faces of the people at the Pro-Choice demonstra- 
tions around the U.S. four days later. 



What do you call that state of consciousness? I would call it 

Hey, I know this e3q)erience when I see it. For the last 30 years I 
have been watching intoxicated insight explode on peq)les* faces. You 
haven't forgotten, have you? Surely as you watched The Wall come down 
you remember when it first happened to you. At Woodstock. Or at a 
Grateful Dead concert. The Elation. The Rapture. The Comic relief. I 
could feel shimmers of freedom rippling up my spine. And I bet you did 

This night The Wall came down, like my brothers and sisters in 
Berlin, I popped some bubbly and got mildly intoxicated, stoned, high. 
And it is in this state of mind that I write these celebratory lines. 

We have been swept up in a cultural whirlwind revolution which 
has country by country, continent by continent, liberated much of the 
world in the last three decades. This social movement is as profound as 
the spread of feudal-monotheism (which took over 10,000 generations), 
as pervasive as the growth of industrialism (which from 1456-1960 
involved 2500 generations). 

And we have lived through this even more dramatic change in our 

Our revolution is creating a new, post-political society based on 
Ecstasy, i.e. the experience of Individusd Freedom. This movement is the 
"rapture" anticipated for the year 2000. It is the culmination of the 
mystical, transcendental, spooky, hallucinatory dreams which we have 
envisioned in our highest psychedelic (miixl-opened) states. 

What do we call this new movement? Humanism? Libertarianism? 
The Golden Age of the Individual Gods? 

Well, who cares what we call it. Let's loosen up. Let's glasnost 
each other. Can't we get a bit semantically loose at this moment of 

Oh yes, I remember. The message of this movement is FREEDOM! 
The medium of this movement is electronic information. Marshall 
McLuhan wouldn't have been surprised. 

This anthem was broadcast electronically when Martin Luther King 
"dreamed" out loud, chanting : "Free at last. Free at last. Thank God 
Almighty (sic), free at last." Look at the faces of those assembled in that 
political orgy in Washington D. C, August 28, 1963. They are in ecstasy. 

This chant was repeated at the Rrst Human Be-In in San Francisco 
1967. It was sung in Paris 1968, at Woodstock 1969, London 1970, 
Amsterdam 1971, Madrid-Barcelona 1976. 

Bob Dylan sang it: We ain't gonna work on Breznev's Farm no 
more. They sang it at anti-war demonstrations. Hell No! We won't go! 

Abbie Hofhnan called it Revolution for the Hell of It. Abbie 


claimed to be a Marxist a follower of Groucho, not Karl. Rebellion 
with a smile. 

In the 1980's this goofy, hooligan, disreputable, punko, subversive 
youth message was flashed around the globe in electronic broadcasts. It 
was shouted by students facing tanks in the streets in Seoul, in Moscow, 
in Prague, in Budq)est, in Leipzig, in Warsaw. Etc. 

The goals of this new Ecstatic neo-society are to support, nurture, 
teach, protect individual freedom and personal growth. TTiere is one and 
only function of neo-govemment in the Post-Political Age. To protect 
individual freedom from threats by individuals or groups who attempt to 
limit personal freedom. 

This movement has been made possible by cybernetic-electronic 
technology. Mind-e^anding drugs and mind-lintdng quantum appli- 

This individual-freedom movement is new to human history 
because it is not based on geogn^hy, politics, class, or religion. It has to 
do not with changes in the political structure, nor in who controls the 
police, but in the individual mind. It involves "thinking for yourself." It 
concerns intelligence, personal access to information, an anti-ideological 
reliance on common sense, mental proficiency, consciousness raising, 
street-smarts, good-natured sexual sophistication, intelligent consumer- 
ism, personal communication skiUs. 

The rapid spread of this ecstatic spirit is due to the recent availabil- 
ity of brain-change neurotransmitters and electronic communication 
appliances accessible to individuals. When these psychedelic foods 
activate the brain and when these electronic devices start gushing elec- 
tronic information, people's minds begin opening. 

The psychedelic-cybernetic revolution is happening all over the 
world. In the 1970s the new outsiders emerged in western Europe and by 
1988 the sandhill European states were renouncing war and coming 
together in Common Sense Community. The walls just keep crumbling 

The signs are always the same. Young minds exposed to neurologi- 
cal freedom and the free spray of electronic information suddenly 
blossom like flowers in the spring. In June 1989 in Tien An Men Square 
the worid witnessed another dramatic encounter between the young ex- 
stasis and the old stasis. The Chinese students just replayed Woodstock. 
The geriatric Chinese dictators replayed Kent State. 

This explosion of consciousness-information- communication 
turned the Cold War into an Old War, a generational conflict between 
those bom before 1945 and those bom after Hiroshima-Nagasaki who are 
creating, across national boundaries, a new species ^post-atomic, post- 
industrial, post-political. The first psychedelic-cybernetic generation in 
human history, individuals who prize intelligence and facts and personal 


freedom. These are young people who grew up with electronic appli- 
ances, personal telephones, home radios, television and personal comput- 
ers as primary aids for thinking and communicating. From birth they have 
been trained by television to be reality-consumers. To have freedom of 

On June 5, 1989, a 19-year-old Wang Weilin stood defiantly 
looking into the barrel of an enormous gun mounted on a tank in Tien An 
Men Square. He was unarmed. Look at the picture and you see that in his 
left hand he holds, not a gun or a bomb but his school bookbag and in his 
right hand, his lunch bag. His act was a cybernetic gesture. He and his 
friends knew that his picture, flashed around the world on TV screens and 
magazine covers, would be permanently imprinted on the minds of 
millions. A symbol of ex-stasis: the icon of the individual dissenting 
youth skillfully using the electronic media to confront a powerftil tyranny. 
Just saying "no" to the old ways. 

Power, Mao said, comes from the barrel of a gun. That may have 
been true in the past. But this week the very notion of political "power" 
seems anachronistic, kinky, hateful, evil. The idea that any group should 
want to grab domination, control, authority, supremacy, jurisdiction over 
others is a primitive perversity ^more loathsome than cannibalism. A 
return to personal or economic slavery. 

The issue now is personal power, i.e. freedom. And now we see 
that freedom depends upon who controls the technology that reaches your 
brain -telephone, the editing facility, the drugs, of course, and the TV 

This sudden emergence of Pro-Choice on a mass scale is new. 

In TRIBAL societies the role of the individual is to be a submissive, 
obedient child. The tribal elders do the thinking. And survival pressures 
do not afford them the luxury of freedom. 

In FEUDAL societies the individual is a serf or vassal, peasant, 
serf, chattel, peon, slave. The nobles & priests do the thinking. And they 
are trained by tradition to abhor and anathematize open-mindedness and 
thinking for yourself. 

In INDUSTRIAL society the individual is a woricer-manager. In 
later stages, the individual is a worker-consumer. 

In all of these static, primitive societies the thinking is done by 
organizations who control the guns. The power of Open Minded Individu- 
als to make and remake decisions about their own lives, to fabricate, 
concoct, invent, prevaricate their own lies is severely limited. 

The INFORMATION society, which we are now developing, is 
post-political, and does not operate on the basis of obedience and confor- 
mity to dogma. It is based upon individual thinking, and scientific know- 
how, quick exchange of facts around feed-back networks, high-tech 
ingenuity and practical, front-line creativity. 


The society of the future no longer grudgingly tolerates a few q)en- 
minded innovators. The Info-Sodety is totally dependent upon a large 
pool of them, communicating with each other across state lines and 
national boundaries. 

When we send electrified thoughts this way, inviting fast feedback, 
we are creating a new global psyber-society which requires a higher level 
of electronic know-how and psychological sophistication. This psyber- 
communication process is accelerating so rapidly that to compete on the 
world information market in the 21st century, nations, companies, even 
families (!) must be composed of quick-thinldng, q)en-minded, change- 
oriented, innovative individuals who are adepts in communicating via the 
new cyber-electronic technologies. 

These free men and free women are simply much smarter than the 
Old Guard. They inhale new information the way they breath oxygen. 
They stimulate each other to continually upgrade and reformat their 
minds. People who use psyber-technology to make fast decisions on their 
jobs are not going to go home and passively let aging, close-minded 
politicians or devil-obsessed, religious demagogues make decisions about 
their lives. 

The emergence of this new open-minded caste in different countries 
around the world is the central historical issue of the last 40 years. The 
Politics of Ecstasy is re-appearing as a million people are crossing the 
border from past to future with rapturous smiles. They are members of 
the consciousness revolution, won without violence, won with a smile. 

Back in 1967, we called this process of personal freedom the 
Ecstatic Experience. Today we call the free-agent who thinks for him/ 
herself "cybernetic" fix>m the Greek word pilot. The word psychedelic 
means ecstatic or mind-opening. Psybemetic refers to psychedelic experi- 
ence expressed in electronic form. The Japanese word, "ronin" is also 
used to describe the highly skilled, self- confidant free-agent who has 
renounced vassal, liege service to a Lord. 

In the 1950s in America there s^peared such a group of free people 
who created a counter-culture which was to change history. They were 
called The Beat Generation. Their spokesperson was the poet AUen 
Ginsberg. Their philosopher hero was William Burroughs. They were an- 
archist artists and writers. They hung out with avant garde painters and 
jazz musicians. They stood, of course, for the ecstatic vision and for 
individual freedom in revolt against all bureaucratic, close-minded 
systems. They saw themselves as citizens of the world. They met with 
Russian poets to denounce the Cold War. They practiced oriental yoga. 
They experimented, as artists have for centuries, with mind-opening 
foods, drugs, sexual freedom. Most important, with their minds turning 
like satellite dishes to other cultures, they had a historical sense of what 
they were doing. They saw themselves as heirs to the long tradition of 


intellectual and artistic individualism that goes beyond national bounda- 

What made the Beats more effective than any dissident artist group 
in human history was electronic technology. Their ideas and their images 
were broadcast at the speed of light around the world. Just as soap 
companies were using TV and radio to market their products, so did the 
Beats use the electronic media to advertise their ideas. Ironically enough, 
more students in China and the Third World know the name Allen 
Ginsberg today than any other American writer. Allen was the king of the 
Czechoslovakian Students May Day parade in Prague, of all places, in 
1964. The next day, after the party officials realized what Allen had in 
mind for Czech youth, they promptiy deported him. 

Talk about Politics of Ecstasy! 

The current liberation movements in Eastern Eurq)e are indebted 
deeply to tiie Beats of the 1950s. 

The original Love-In Be-In (San Francisco, January 1967) was the 
dawning of the Psychedelic-Cybernetic Age. Or "glasnost," as we call it 

This first Love-In Be-In was not organized in the traditional way. 
The word got out via the Underground Press and progressive, free-form 
radio stations. When Jerry Rubin jumped on stage and tried to run a 
political scam, no one listened. Three months later the Pop Festival in 
Monterey, California harnessed the new youthful psychedelic spirit to 
electrically amplified music. 

Ecstatic Youth plus electronics. 

The first edition of The Politics of Ecstasy s^peared in 1968. 

The first wave of post-Hiroshima electronic children had recentiy 
reached the age of 21. Politics of Ecstasy was a dramatic departure from 
the previous texts we sober Harvard psychometridans had written about 
the consciousness- expanding foods and drugs. The Psychedelic Experi- 
ence and Psychedelic Prayers and The Psychedelic Reader were sdiolarly 
texts based on ancient shamanic tradition and designed to guide mature, 
thoughtful seekers. 

The Politics of Ecstasy was written for the enormous new wave of 
young people, the first generation of the television age, who were used to 
**tuming-on-tuning-in" electronic appliances. It was written to provide a 
supportive "set" for the millions of psychedelic users who were learning 
how to live free. Much of it was written in a state of rapturous delusion. A 
book with this reckless tide could be nothing less, could it? 

I used the term "politics" to focus on the cultural-social implica- 
tions of the psychedelic e^qperience. This was considered by the conven- 
tional wisdom to be naive. Politics of ecstasy? 

By 1969 the power of the youth movement and the counter-culture 
press and underground radio drew 500,000 to Woodstock, New York and 


later to the Anti-War demonstrations. 

Do you remember the symbol of the short-lived Ecstatic Move- 
ment? The TV shot of a young man putting a flower in the gun barrel of 
the soldier who was threatening him. The kids in China remember. Wang 
Weilin (or his girl-friend, the film major) sure remembered. 

Psychedelic Youth plus Electronic Communication. 

There is a Pulitzer, maybe even a Nobel Prize awaiting the first 
pundit, the first party leader, the first think-tank expert who comes right 
out and says it in public: Partisan politics is over! This is the post-political 
age. Everyone has caught on to the bottom-line fact: the only function of 
a political party is to line its own pockets and keep itself in office at the 
e?q)ense of the common good. 

It so happens that I happened to say this in 1968. In the book you 
hold in your hand. In my naivete and innocence, I even suggested a new 
Declaration of Independence. 

I did actually try to put the post-politics of ecstasy into practice. I 
announced my candidacy for governor of California in 1969. My oppo- 
nent was a second-rate movie actor who was later to win a doctorate in 
Political Science from the Herbert Hoover University. Or something like 

When asked what I would do if I were to become governor I 
replied: "As little as possible. Managing a state is like managing a 
baseball team. The function of the coach is to motivate, tutor, counsel, to 
promote team woik. And, above all, to stay out of the limelight and let the 
performers be the stars." 

Jeez! No wonder Reagan threw me in jail without bail. Once again I 
was ahead of my time. Promoting glasnost and decentralization and 
regionalism and local option twenty dangerous years before Glorious 

In the societies of the past the notion of a "politics of ecstasis" was 
oxymoronic. How could theie be a society of singular individuals who 
keep dropping out of the central, normal social structure? 

Granted, that in most tribal societies a few persons were permitted 
to live out the shamanic path of exalted mysticism. And on certain 
festival occasions they led the tribe in ceremonies of trance, possession, 
and rapturous delight. Usually in devotion to the reigning god. 

In Feudal and Industrial cultures the ecstatic experience was cruelly 
alienated from organized religions. The shamanic role was relegated to 
outcastes like Bohemians, artists, comics, prostitutes, screenwriters, 
entertainers. This small dissident re-sourceftil minority was allowed to 
circulate innovative, iconoclastic creative fabrications. 

It was the Ecstatic Beats of the 1950s, the Blissed Out Students of 
the 1960s, the Anarchist Yippies of the 1970s and the Psyberpunks of the 
1980s who have been fabricating the Infonnation Culture of the 1990s. 


Now please do not expect me to come up with specific recommen- 
dations for the post-poUtical future. The new fomiats wiU emerge, as they 
usually do, from the streets, the campuses, the comedy cafes. 

In the psybernetic 21st century power will come, not from the 
barrel of a gun, but from the minds of free individuals using camera lens, 
computer screens, and electronic networks. 


1. The Seven Tongues of God 13 

2. What to Do When the Vietcong Drop LSD in Our 

Water Supply 59 

3. The Fifth Freedom-The Right to Get High 64 

4. Ecstasy Attacked Ecstasy Defended 70 

5. Chemical Warfare The Alcoholics vs. the 

Psychedelics 87 

6. The Magical Mystery Trip 103 

7. She Comes in Colors 118 

8. Drop Out or Cop Out 160 

9. Hormonal Politics: The Menopausal Left-Right and 

the Seed Center 168 

10. Poet of the Interior Journey 176 

11. A Trip with Paul Krassner 195 

12. Start Your Own Religion 222 

13. American Education as an Addictive Process and Its 

Cure 237 


Contents [ 10 

14. Soul Session 254 

15. God's Secret Agent A.O.S.3 277 

16. M.I.T. Is T.I.M. Spelled Backward 290 

17. The Buddha as Drop-Out 304 

18. Homage to Huxley 310 

1 9. The Mad Virgin of Psychedelia 3 1 9 

20. Homage to the Awe-full See-er 327 

21. The Molecular Revolution 332 

22. Neurological Politics 362 

Illustrations follow page 32. 


"The Seven Tongues of God" appeared under the title 
"The Religious Experience: Its Production and 
Interpretation" in The Psychedelic Reader (1965). 


The Seven Tongues 
of God* 

The Turn-On 

Once upon a time, many years ago, on a sunny afternoon in the 
garden of a Cuernavaca villa, I ate seven of the so-called sacred 
mushrooms which had been given to me by a scientist from the 
University of Mexico. During the next five hours, I was whirled 
through an experience which could be described in many ex- 
travagant metaphors but which was, above all and without 
question, the deepest religious experience of my life. 

Statements about personal reactions, however passionate, are 
always relative to the speaker's history and may have little 
general significance. Next come the questions "Why?" and "So 

There are many predisposing factors intellectual, emotional, 
spiritual, social which cause one person to be ready for a dra- 
matic mind-opening experience and which lead another to 
shrink back from new levels of awareness. The discovery that 
the human brain possesses an infinity of potentialities and can 
operate at unexpected space-time dimensions left me feeling 
exhilarated, awed, and quite convinced that I had awakened 

Lecture delivered at a meeting of Lutheran psychologists and other interested 
professionals, sponsored by the Board of Theological Education, Lutheran 
Church in America, in conjunction with the Seventy-first Annual Convention of 
the American Psychological Association, Bellevue Stratford Hotel, Philadelphia, 
August 30, 1963; later published in Psychedelic Review, No. 3, 1964. 


The Politics of Ecstasy [ 14 

from a long ontological sleep. This sudden flash awakening is 
called "turning on." 

Tuning In 

A profound transcendent experience should leave in its wake a 
changed man and a changed life. Since my illumination of Au- 
gust 1960, I have devoted most of my energies to trying to 
understand the relevatory potentialities of the human nervous 
system and to making these insights available to others. 

I have repeated this biochemical and (to me) sacramental 
ritual several hundred times, and almost every time I have been 
awed by religious revelations as shattering as the first experi- 
ence. During this period I have been lucky enough to collab- 
orate in this work with several hundred scientists and scholars 
who joined our various research projects. In our centers at 
Harvard, in Mexico, and at Millbrook we have arranged tran- 
scendent experiences for several thousand persons from all 
walks of life, including more than 200 full-time religious profes- 
sionals, about half of whom profess the Christian or Jewish 
faiths and about half of whom belong to Eastern religions. 

Included in this roster are several divinity college deans, 
divinity college presidents, university chaplains, executives of 
religious foundations, prominent religious editors, and several 
distinguished religious philosophers. In our research files and in 
certain denominational offices there is building up a large and 
quite remarkable collection of reports which will be published 
when the political atmosphere becomes more tolerant. At this 
point it is conservative to state that over 75 percent of these 
subjects report intense mystico-religious responses, and consid- 
erably more than 50 percent claim that they have had the 
deepest spiritual experience of their life. 

The interest generated by the research at Harvard led to the 
formation in 1962 of an informal group of ministers, theo- 
logians and religious psychologists who met once a month. In 
addition to arranging for spiritually oriented psychedelic ses- 
sions and discussing prepared papers, this group provided the 

The Seven Tongues of God [ 15 

guides for the dramatic "Good Friday'* study and was the 
original planning nucleus of the organizations which assumed 
sponsorship of our research in consciousness expansion: IFIF 
(the International Federation for Internal Freedom) , 1963, the 
Castalia Foundation, 1963-66, and the League for Spiritual 
Discovery, 1966. The generating impulse and the original lead- 
ership of our work and play came from a seminar in religious 
experience, and this fact may be related to the alarm which we 
have aroused in some secular and psychiatric circles. 

The Good Friday Miracle 

The "Good Friday" study, which has been sensationalized re- 
cently in the press as "The Miracle of Marsh Chapel," deserves 
further elaboration not only as an example of a serious, con- 
trolled experiment involving over 30 courageous volunteers 
but also as a systematic demonstration of the religious aspects of 
the psychedelic revelatory experience. This study was the Ph.D. 
dissertation research of Walter Pahnke, at that time a graduate 
student in the philosophy of religion at Harvard University. 
Pahnke, who is, incidentally, both an M.D. and a bachelor of 
divinity, set out to determine whether the transcendent experi- 
ence reported during psychedelic sessions was similar to the 
mystical experience reported by saints and famous religious 

The subjects in this study were 20 divinity students se- 
lected from a group of volunteers. The subjects were divided 
into 5 groups of 4 persons, and each group met before the ses- 
sion for orientation and preparation. To each group were as- 
signed 2 guides with considerable psychedelic experience. The 
10 guides were professors and advanced graduate students from 
Boston-area colleges. 

The experiment took place in a small, private chapel at 
Boston University, beginning about one hour before noon on 
Good Friday. The dean of the chapel, Howard Thurman, who 
was to conduct a 3-hour devotional service upstairs in the main 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 16 

hall of the church, visited the subjects a few minutes before the 
start of the service at noon and gave a brief inspirational talk. 

Two of the subjects in each group and one of the two guides 
were given a moderately stiff dosage (i.e., 30 mg.) of psilocybin, 
the chemical synthesis of the active ingredient in the "sacred 
mushroom" of Mexico. The remaining two subjects and the 
second guide received a placebo which produced noticeable 
somatic side effects but which was not psychedelic. The study 
was triple blind: neither the subjects, guides, nor experimenter 
knew who received psilocybin. 

A detailed description of this fascinating study can be found 
in Pahnke's thesis, available from the Harvard Library.^ I can 
say, in summary, that the results clearly support the hypothesis 
that, with adequate preparation and in an environment which 
is supportive and religiously meaningful, subjects who have 
taken the psychedelic drug report mystical experiences signifi- 
cantly more than placebo controls. 

Our studies, naturalistic and experimental, thus demonstrate 
that if the expectation, preparation, and setting are spiritual, an 
intense mystical or revelatory experience can be expected in 
from 40 to 90 percent of subjects ingesting psychedelic drugs. 
These results may be attributed to the bias of our research 
group, which has taken the "far out" and rather dangerous posi- 
tion that there are experiential-spiritual as well as secular- 
behavioral potentialities of the nervous system. While we share 
and follow the epistemology of scientific psychology (objective 
records) , our basic ontological assumptions are closer to Jung 
than to Freud, closer to the mystics than to the theologians, 
closer to Einstein and Bohr than to Newton. In order to check 
on this bias, let us cast a comparative glance at the work of other 
research groups in this field who begin from more conventional 
ontological bases. 

LSD Can Produce a Religious High 

Oscar Janiger, a psychiatrist, and William McGlothlin, a psy- 
chologist, have reported the reactions of 194 psychedelic sub- 
jects. Of these, 73 took LSD as part of a psychotherapy program. 

The Seven Tongues of God [17 

and 121 were volunteers. The religious **set" would not be ex- 
pected to dominate the expectations of these subjects. The re- 
sults, which are abstracted from a paper published in the Psy- 
chedelic Review/^ are as follows: 



(nonreligious setting) 

N = 194 

Increased interest in morals, ethics: 35 

Increased interest in other universal concepts 

(meaning of life) : 48 

Change in sense of values 48 

LSD should be used for 

becoming aware of oneself: 75 

getting new meaning to life: 58 

getting people to understand each other: 42 

An experience of lasting benefit: 58 

Two Other studies, one by Ditman et al, another by Savage et 
al., used the same questionnaire, allowing for interexperiment 
comparison. Both Ditman and Savage are psychiatrists, but the 
clinical environment of the latter's study is definitely more re- 
ligious (subjects are shown religious articles during the session, 
etc.) . Summarizing the religious items of their questionnaires: 







N = 74 

& some religious 
N = 96 





Feel it [LSD] was the greatest 

thing that ever happened to me: 
A religious experience: 
A greater awareness of God or a higher 

power, or an ultimate reality: 40 90 

Here, then, we have five scientific studies by qualified investi- 
gatorsthe four naturalistic studies by Leary et al.,^ Savage et 
al.* Ditman et al.,^ and Janiger-McGlothlin,^ and the triple- 
blind study in the Harvard dissertation mentioned earlier- 
yielding data which indicate that (1) if the setting is supportive 
but not spiritual, between 40 to 75 percent of psychedelic sub- 
jects will report intense and life-changing religious experiences 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 18 

and that (2) if the set and setting are supportive and spiritual, 
then from 40 to 90 percent of the experiences will be revelatory 
and mystico-religious. 

It is hard to see how these results can be disregarded by those 
who are concerned with spiritual growth and religious devel- 
opment. These data are even more interesting because the ex- 
periments took place at a time (1962) when mysticism, indi- 
vidual religious ecstasy (as opposed to religious behavior) , was 
highly suspect and when the classic, direct, nonverbal means of 
revelation and consciousness expansion such as meditation, 
yoga, fasting, monastic withdrawal and sacramental foods and 
drugs were surrounded by an aura of fear, clandestine secrecy, 
active social sanction, and even imprisonment^ The two hun- 
dred professional workers in religious vocations who partook of 
psychedelic substances (noted earlier) were responsible, re- 
spected, thoughtful, and moral individuals who were grimly 
aware of the controversial nature of the procedure and aware 
that their reputations and their jobs might be undermined 
(and, as a matter of fact, have been and are today being 
threatened for some of them) . Still the results read: 75 percent 
spiritual revelation. It may well be that the most intense reli- 
gious experience, like the finest metal, requires fire, the "heat" 
of police constabulatory opposition, to produce the keenest edge. 
When the day comes as it surely will that sacramental bio- 
chemicals like LSD will be as routinely and tamely used as 
organ music and incense to assist in the attainment of religious 
experience, it may well be that the ego-shattering effect of the 
drug will be diminished. Such may be one aspect of the para- 
doxical nature of religious experience. 

What Is the Religious Experience? 

The Religious Experience 

You are undoubtedly wondering about the meaning of 
this phrase, which has been used so freely in the preceding 
paragraphs. May I offer a definition? 

The Seven Tongues of God [ 19 

The religious experience is the ecstatic, incontrovertibly cer- 
tain, subjective discovery of answers to seven basic spiritual 
questions. There can be, of course, absolute subjective certainty 
in regard to secular questions: Is this the girl I love? Is Fidel 
Castro a wicked man? Are the Yankees the best baseball team? 
But issues which do not involve the seven basic questions 
belong to secular games, and such convictions and faiths, how- 
ever deeply held, can be distinguished from the religious. Litur- 
gical practices, rituals, dogmas, theological speculations, can be 
and too often are secular, i.e., completely divorced from the 
spiritual experience. 

What are these 7 basic spiritual questions? 

1. The Ultimate Power Question 

What is the basic energy underlying the universe the ulti- 
mate power that moves the galaxies and nucleus of the atom? 
Where and how did it all begin? What is the cosmic plan? 

2. The Life Question 

What is life? Where and how did it begin? How is it evolv- 
ing? Where is it going? Genesis, biology, evolution, genetics. 

3. The Human Being Question 

Who is man? Whence did he come? What is his structure and 
function? Anatomy and physiology. 

4. The Awareness Question 

How does man sense, experience, know? Epistemology, 

5. The Ego Question 

Who am I? What is my spiritual, psychological, social place in 
the plan? What should I do about it? Social psychology. 

6. The Emotional Question 

What should I feel about it? Psychiatry. Personality psy- 

7. The Ultimate Escape Question 

How do I get out of it? Anesthesiology (amateur or profes- 
sional) . Eschatology. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 20 

While one may disagree with the wording, I think most 
thoughtful people philosophers or not can agree on some- 
thing like this list of basic issues. Do not most of the great 
religious statements Eastern or monotheistic speak directly to 
these questions? 

Now one important fact about these questions is that they are 
continually being answered and reanswered, not only by all the 
religions of the world but also by the data of the natural 
sciences. Read these questions again from the standpoint of the 
goals of (1) astronomy-physics, (2) biochemistry, genetics, pa- 
leontology, and evolutionary theory, (3) anatomy and physiol- 
ogy, (4) neurology, (5) sociology, psychology, (6) psychiatry, 
(7) eschatological theology and anesthesiology. 

We are all aware of the unhappy fact that both science and 
religion are too often diverted toward secular-game goals. Vari- 
ous pressures demand that laboratory and church forget these 
basic questions and instead provide distractions, illusory protec- 
tion, narcotic comfort. Most of us dread confrontation with the 
answers to these basic questions, whether the answers come from 
objective science or religion. But if "pure" science and religion 
address themselves to the same basic questions, what is the 
distinction between the two disciplines? Science is the system- 
atic attempt to record and measure the energy process and the 
sequence of energy transformations we call life. The goal is to 
answer the basic questions in terms of objective, observed, 
public data. Religion is the systematic attempt to provide an- 
swers to the same questions subjectively, in terms of direct, in- 
controvertible, personal experience. 

Science is a social system which evolves roles, rules, rituals, 
values, language, space-time locations to further the quest for 
these goals, to answer these questions objectively, externally. 
Religion is a social system which has evolved its roles, rules, 
rituals, values, language, space-time locations to further the 
pursuit of the same goals, to answer these questions subjectively 
through the revelatory experience. A science which fails to ad- 
dress itself to these spiritual goals, which accepts other purposes 
(however popular) , becomes secular, political, and tends to 

The Seven Tongues of God [ 21 

oppose new data. A religion which fails to provide direct ex- 
periential answers to these spiritual questions (which fails to 
produce the ecstatic high) becomes secular, political, and tends 
to oppose the individual revelatory confrontation. The Oxford 
orientalist R. C. Zaehner, whose formalism is not always 
matched by his tolerance, has remarked that experience, when 
divorced from dogma, often leads to absurd and wholly irra- 
tional excesses.^ Like any statement of polarity, the opposite is 
equally true: dogma, when divorced from experience, often 
leads to absurd and wholly rational excesses. Those of us who 
have been devoting our lives to the study of consciousness have 
been able to collect considerable sociological data about the 
tendency of the rational mind to spin out its own interpreta- 
tions. But I shall have more to say about the political situation 
in later chapters. 

Religion and Science Provide Similar Answers to the Same 
Basic Questions 

At this point I should like to advance the hypothesis that those 
aspects of the psychedelic experience which subjects report to 
be ineffable and ecstatically religious involve a direct awareness 
of the energy processes which physicists and biochemists and 
physiologists and neurologists and psychologists and psychia- 
trists measure. 

We are treading here on very tricky ground. When we read 
the reports of LSD subjects, we are doubly limited. First, they 
can only speak in the vocabulary they know, and for the most 
part they do not possess the lexicon and training of energy 
scientists. Second, we researchers find only what we are pre- 
pared to look for, and too often we think in crude psychological- 
jargon concepts: moods, emotions, value judgments, diagnostic 
categories, social pejoratives, religious cliches. 

Since 1962 I have talked to thousands of LSD trippers, 
mystics, saddhus, occultists, saints, inquiring if their hallucina- 
tions, visions, revelations, ecstasies, orgasms, hits, flashes, space- 
outs, and freak-outs can be translated into the language not just 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 22 

of religion, psychiatry and psychology but also of the physical 
and biological sciences. 

1. The Ultimate-Power Question 

A. The scientific answers to this question change con- 
stantlyNewtonian laws, quantum indeterminacy, atomic 
structure, nuclear structure. Today the basic energy is located 
within the nucleus. Inside the atom 

a transparent sphere of emptiness, thinly populated with elec- 
trons, the substance of the atom has shrunk to a core of un- 
believable smallness: enlarged 1000 million times, an atom 
would be about the size of a football, but its nucleus would 
still be hardly visible a mere speck of dust at the center. Yet 
that nucleus radiates a powerful electric field which holds and 
controls the electrons around it.* 

Incredible power and complexity operating at speeds and 
spatial dimensions which our conceptual minds cannot register. 
Infinitely small, yet pulsating outward through enormous net- 
works of electrical forces atom, molecule, cell, planet, star: all 
forms dancing to the nuclear tune. 

The cosmic design is this network of energy whirling through 
space-time. More than 15,000 million years ago the oldest 
known stars began to form. Whirling disks of gas molecules 
(driven, of course, by that tiny, spinning, nuclear force) con- 
densing clouds, further condensations the tangled web of spin- 
ning magnetic fields clustering into stellar forms, and each 
stellar cluster hooked up in a magnetic dance with its planetary 
cluster and with every other star in the galaxy, and each galaxy 
whirling in synchronized relationship to the other galaxies. 

One thousand million galaxies. From 100 million to 100,000 
million stars in a galaxy that is to say, 100,000 million plane- 
tary systems per galaxy, and each planetary system slowly wheel- 
ing through the stellar cycle that allows for a brief time the 
possibility of life as we know it. 

Five thousand million years ago, a slow-spinning dwarf star 

The Seven Tongues of God [ 23 

we call the sun is the center of a field of swirling planetary 
material. The planet earth is created. In 5,000 million years 
the sun's supply of hydrogen will be burned up; the planets will 
be engulfed by a final solar explosion. Then the ashen remnants 
of our planetary system will spin silently through the dark 
infinity of space. And then is the dance over? Hardly. Our tiny 
solar light, which is one of 100,000 million suns in our galaxy, 
will scarcely be missed. And our galaxy is one of 1,000 million 
galaxies spinning out and up at rates which exceed the speed of 
light each galaxy eventually burning up, to be replaced by new 
galaxies to preserve the dance equilibrium. 

Here in the always changing data of nuclear physics and 
astronomy is the current scientific answer to the first basic ques- 
tionmaterial enough indeed for an awesome cosmology. 

B. Psychedelic reports often contain phrases which seem to 
describe similar phenomena, subjectively experienced. 

(a) I passed in and out of a state several times where I was 
so relaxed that I felt open to a total flow, over and 
around and through my body (more than my body) . 
. . . All objects were dripping, streaming, with white- 
hot light or electricity which flowed in the air. It was as 
though we were watching the world, just having come 
into being, cool off, its substance and form still molten 
and barely beginning to harden. 

(b) Body being destroyed after it became so heavy as to be 
unbearable. Mind wandering, ambulating throughout 
an ecstatically lit, indescribable landscape. How can there 
be so much light layers and layers of light, light upon 
light? All is illumination. 

(c) I became more and more conscious of vibrations of the 
vibrations in my body, the harp strings giving forth their 
individual tones. Gradually I felt myself becoming one 
with the cosmic vibration. ... In this dimension there 
were no forms, no deities or personalities just bliss. 

(d) The dominant impression was that of entering into the 
very marrow of existence. ... It was as if each of the 
billion atoms of experience which under normal circum- 

The Politics of Ecstasy [24 

stances are summarized and averaged into crude, indis- 
criminate, wholesale impressions was now being seen and 
savored for itself. The other clear sense was that of cosmic 
relativity. Perhaps all experience never gets summarized 
in any inclusive overview. Perhaps all there is, is this 
everlasting congeries of an infinite number of discrete 
points of view, each summarizing the whole from its per- 
(e) I could see the whole history and evolution along which 
man has come. I was moving into the future and saw the 
old cycle of peace and war, good times and bad times, 
starting to repeat, and I said, "The same old thing again. 
Oh, God! It has changed, though, it is different," and I 
thought of the rise of man from animal to spiritual being. 
But I was still moving into the future, and I saw the whole 
planet destroyed and all history, evolution, and human 
efforts being wiped out in this one ultimate destructive 
act of God. 

Subjects speak of participating in and merging with pure 
(i.e., content-free) energy, white light; of witnessing the break- 
down of macroscopic objects into vibratory patterns, visual nets, 
the collapse of external structure into wave patterns, the aware- 
ness that everything is a dance of particles, sensing the smallness 
and fragility of our system, visions of the void, of world-ending 
explosions, of the cyclical nature of creation and dissolution, etc. 
Now I need not apologize for the flimsy inadequacy of these 
words. We just don't have a better experiential vocabulary. If 
God were to permit you a brief voyage into the divine process, 
let you whirl for a second into the atomic nucleus or spin you 
out on a light-year trip through the galaxies, how on earth 
would you describe what you saw when you got back, breathless, 
to your office? This metaphor may sound farfetched or irrele- 
vant, but just ask someone who has taken a heavy dose of LSD. 

2. The Life Question 

A. The Scientific Answer: 
Our planetary system began over 5 billion years ago and has 
around 5 billion years to go. Life as we know it dates back 2 

The Seven Tongues of God [ 25 

billion years. In other words, the earth spun for about 60 per- 
cent of its existence without life. The crust slowly cooled and 
was eroded by incessant water flow. "'Fertile mineral mud was 
deposited . . . now giving ... for the first time . . . the 
possibility of harboring life." Thunderbolts in the mud pro- 
duce amino acids, the basic building blocks of life. Then begins 
the ceaseless production of protein molecules, incalculable in 
number, forever combining into new forms. The variety of 
proteins "exceeds all the drops of water in all the oceans of the 
world." Then protoplasm. Cell. Within the cell, incredible 
beauty and order. 

When we consider the teeming activity of a modern city it 
is diflRcult to realize that in the cells of our bodies infinitely 
more complicated processes are at work ceaseless manufacture, 
acquisition of food, storage, communication and administra- 
tion. . . . All this takes place in superb harmony, with the 
cooperation of all the participants of a living system, regulated 
down to the smallest detail.^o 

Life is the striving cycle of repetitious, reproductive energy 
transformations. Moving, twisting, devouring, changing. The 
unit of life is the cell. And the blueprint is the genetic code, the 
two nucleic acids the long, intertwined, duplicating chains of 
DNA and the controlling regulation of RN A "which deter- 
mine the structure of the living substance." 

And where is it going? Exactly like the old Hindu myths of 
cyclical rotation, the astrophysicists tell us that life is a tempo- 
rary sequence which occurs at a brief midpoint in the planetary 
cycle. Terrestrial life began around 3 billion years a.b. ("after 
the beginning" of our solar cycle) and will run for another 
2 billion years or so. At that time the solar furnace will 
burn so hot that the minor planets (including earth) will boil, 
bubble and bum out. In other planetary systems the time spans 
are different, but the cycle is probably the same. 

There comes an intermediate stage in the temperature his- 
tory of a planet which can nourish living forms, and then life 
merges into the final unifying fire. Data here, indeed, for an 
awesome cosmology. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 26 

The flame of life which moves every living form, including 
the cell cluster you call your self, began, we are told, as a tiny 
single-celled spark in the lower Precambrian mud, then passed 
over in steady transformations to more complex forms. We like 
to speak of higher forms, but let's not ignore or patronize the 
single-cell game. It's still quite thriving, thank you. Next, your 
ancestral fire glowed in seaweed, algae, flagellate, sponge, coral 
(about 1 billion years ago) ; then fish, fern, scorpion, milliped 
(about 600 million years ago) . Every cell in your body traces 
back (about 450 million years ago) to the same light life flicker- 
ing in amphibian (and what a fateful and questionable decision 
to leave the sea should we have done it?) . Then forms, multi- 
plying in endless diversity reptile, insect, bird until, 1 million 
years ago, comes the aureole glory of Australopithecus.* 

The torch of life next passes on to the hand-ax culture 
(around 600,000 years ago) , to Pithecanthropus (can you re- 
member watching for the charge of southern elephants and the 
saber-tooth tiger?) , then blazing brightly in the radiance of our 
great-grandfather Neanderthal man (a mere 70,000 years ago) , 
suddenly flaring up in that cerebral explosion that doubled the 
cortex of our grandfather Cro-Magnon man (44,000 to 10,000 
years ago) , and then radiating into the full flame of recent man, 
our older stone age. Neolithic brothers, our bronze and iron age 

What next? The race, far from being culminated, has just 

The development of Pre-hominines Australopithecus . . . 
to the first emergence of the . . . Cromagnons lasted about 
. . . fifteen thousand human life-spans. ... In this relatively 
short period in world history the hominid type submitted to a 
positively hurricane change of form; indeed he may be looked 
upon as one of the animal groups whose potentialities of un- 
folding with the greatest intensity have been realized. It must, 

The fossils of the newly discovered "Homo Habilis" from East Africa are 
estimated to be 1,750,000 years old. (New York Times, March 18, April 3 and 4, 
1964, Another estimate traces human origins back about 15 million yearsl 
New York Times, April 12, 1964.) 

The Seven Tongues of God [ 27 

however, by no means be expected that this natural flood of 
development will dry up with Homo sapiens recens. Man will 
be unable to remain man as we know him now, a modern 
sapiens type. He will in the courses of the next hundreds of 
millennia presumably change considerably physiologically and 

B. The Psychedelic Correlates of these evolutionary and ge- 
netic concepts are to be found in the reports of almost every 
LSD tripper. The experience of being a one-celled creature 
tenaciously flailing, the singing, humming sound of life exfoli- 
ating; you are the DNA code spinning out multicellular aes- 
thetic solutions. You directly and immediately experience in- 
vertebrate joy; you feel your backbone forming; gills form. You 
are a fish with glistening gills, the sound of ancient fetal tides 
murmuring the rhythm of life. You stretch and wriggle in 
mammalian muscular strength, loping, powerful, big muscles; 
you sense hair growing on your body as you leave the warm 
broth of water and take over the earth. 

The psychedelic experience is the Hindu-Buddha reincarna- 
tion theory experimentally confirmed in your own nervous 
system. You re-experience your human forebears, shuttle down 
the chain of DNA remembrance. It's all there in your cellular 
diaries. You are all the men and women who fought and fed and 
met and mated the ugly, the strong, the sly, the mean, the wise, 
the beautiful. Our fathers, who art protein in heaven within; 
and our round-fleshed holy mothers, hallowed be thy names. 
Endless chain of warm-blooded, sweating, perfumed-smelling, 
tenaciously struggling primates, each rising out of darkness to 
stand for one second in the sunlight and hand on the precious 
electrical tissue flame of life. 

What does all that evolutionary reincarnation business have 
to do with you or me or LSD or the religious experience? It 
might, it just might, have a lot to do with very current events. 
Many, and I am just bold enough to say most, LSD subjects say 
they experience early forms of racial or subhuman species evo- 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 28 

lution during their sessions. Now the easiest interpretation is 
the psychiatric: "Oh, yes, hallucinations. Everyone knows that 
LSD makes you crazy, and your delusions can take any psychotic 
form." But wait; not so fast. Is it entirely inconceivable that our 
cortical cells or the machinery inside the cellular nucleus "re- 
member" back along the unbroken chain of electrical transfor- 
mations that connects every one of us back to that original 
thunderbolt in the Precambrian mud? Impossible, you say? 
Read a genetics text. Read and reflect about the DNA chain of 
complex protein molecules that took you as a unicelled orga- 
nism at the moment of your conception and planned every stage 
of your natural development. Half of that genetic blueprint was 
handed to you intact by your mother and half by your father, 
and then slammed together in that incredible welding process 
we call conception. 

"You," your ego, your good old American social self, have 
been trained to remember certain crucial secular-game land- 
marks: your senior prom, your wedding day. But is it not pos- 
sible that others of your 10 billion brain cells "remember" 
other critical survival crossroads, like conception, intrauterine 
events, birth? Events for which our language has few or no 
descriptive terms? Every cell in your body is the current carrier 
of an energy torch which traces back through millions of gen- 
eration transformations. Remember that genetic code? 

You must recognize by now the difficulty of my task. I am 
trying to expand your consciousness, break through your macro- 
scopic, secular set, "turn you on," give you a faint feeling of a 
psychedelic moment, trying to relate two sets of processes for 
which we have no words speed-of -light energy-transformation 
processes and the transcendent vision. 

3. The Human Being Question 

A. The Scientific Answer 
What is the human being? Ancient riddle, usually answered 
from within the homocentric limits of the parochial mind. But 
consider this question from the perspective of an intelligence 

The Seven Tongues of God [ 29 

outside the "romantic fallacy'* of man's superiority. Study the 
question from the vantage point of an outer-space visitor, or 
from that of an ecstatic, objective scientist. 

Let us define man as man defines other species, by his anat- 
omy and physiology. Man is an evolutionary form emerging 
from animal-mammalian-primate stock, characterized by this 
skeletal structure and these unique hematological, endocrine, 
organ systems. 

Like every living creature, man is a seed carrier, a soul bearer 
made in one of the forms of God. Man's particular form is a bag 
of semihairless skin containing a miraculously complex system 
of life functions which he dimly understands in the language of 
physiology, functions of which he has no direct experience. 

Only a rare, turned-on visionary like Buckminister Fuller can 
appreciate the universe of the human body, the galactic scope of 
somatic experience. 

"Our individual brains have a quadrillion times a quadrillion 
atoms in fantastic coordination. ... I think we are all coming 
out of the womb of very fundamental ignorance, mental igno- 
rance. We talk in ways that sometimes sound very faithful to our 
experience but which are many times very imaginary. . . . We 
think that we know quite a lot and are responsible for a lot of 
what is going on. 

*'I say to you, whatever the last meal you ate, you haven't the 
slightest idea of what you are doing with it. You aren't con- 
sciously saying to yourself that 'I have designed and decided 
now I'm going to have a million hairs, and they're going to be 
such and such a shape and color.' We don't do any of this; it is 
all automated. Man is more than ninety-nine percent auto- 
mated, and he is only a very small fraction conscious. Whereas 
he tends to suggest that he is really highly responsible for what 
goes on ... he is very successful despite his ignorance and 

"I would suggest that all of humanity is about to be born in 
an entirely new relationship to the universe. . . . We're going 
to have to have an integrity ... a good faith with the truth, 
whatever the truth may be. We are going to have to really pay 

The Politics of Ecstasy [30 

attention." (Buckminister Fuller, interviewed in the San Fran- 
cisco Oracle, Vol. 1, No. 11.) 

B. The Psychedelic Correlates 

The key phrases in this typical flash of humorous genius by 
Buckminister Fuller are: "faithful to our experience," "auto- 
mated . . . only a very small fraction conscious," "pay at- 

This is classic psychedelic talk. One of the ecstatic horrors of 
the LSD experience is the sudden confrontation with your own 
body, the shattering resurrection of your body. You are capitu- 
lated into the matrix of quadrillions of cells and somatic com- 
munication systems. Cellular flow. You are swept down the 
tunnels and canals of your own waterworks. Visions of micro- 
scopic processes. Strange, undulating tissue patterns. Pummeled 
down the fantastic artistry of internal factories, recoiling with 
fear or shrieking in pleasure at the incessant push, struggle, 
drive of the biological machinery, clicking, clicking, endlessly, 
endlessly at every moment engulfing you. 

Your body is the universe. The ancient wisdom of gnostics, 
hermetics, sufis, Tantric gurus, yogis, occult healers. What is 
without is within. Your body is the mirror of the macrocosm. 
The kingdom of heaven is within you. Within your body, body, 
body. The great psychedelic philosophies of the East Tantra, 
Kundalini yoga see the human body as the sacred temple, the 
seed center, the exquisitely architected shrine of all creation. 

Hoc est corpus meum 

And the systematic, disciplined awareness of body function is 
the basic sacramental method of these religions. Tibetan and 
Indian Tantra train the student to become faithful to somatic 
experience, to pay attention to the energies and messages of the 
body. Breathing, control of circulation, control of involuntary 
muscles and reflexes, control of digestion, control of genital 
erection and ejaculation, awareness of the intricate language of 

The Seven Tongues of God [31 

hormone and humor, the psychopharmacology of the body, the 

One cannot understand the rhythms and meanings of the 
outer world until one has mastered the dialects of the body. 

What is man? He is within His body. His body is his 

4. The Awareness Question 

A. The Scientific Answer 

Everything that man knows is mediated by the human ner- 
vous system. Everything that man knows about the external 
world and his place, his identity in it, comes through the sense 

Neurologists and sensory physiologists have much to tell us 
about the incredible complexity of the sensory mechanisms. 
The eye responding to light, the auditory system trembling to 
the finest variation in air vibrations, the olfactory organs receiv- 
ing and processing airborne scents, the mouth and tongue 
honeycombed with taste buds. Touch. Temperature. Pain. 

I lectured once to a group of priests and nuns about the 
sensory experience. "I am holding in my hand," I said, "the 
most sensual book ever written, illustrated, too, with the most 
sensual pictures you ever saw." I was holding The Anatomy and 
Physiology of the Senses. 

All our beliefs and convictions about the existence of an out- 
side world, the only threads we have that connect our lonely 
solipsism to other forms of life and energy and consciousness 
"out there" are based on data registered on our sensory radar 
and processed by our brains. 

Each human being is a spaceship. No, each human being is a 
galaxy spinning lonely in space, and the only contacts we have 
with other galaxies (light-years away, really) are the flimsy 
flickerings on our sense organs. 

And what an ontological, epistemological leap of faith it is, 
really, to believe in the existence of each other! You read this 
page, light hits your eyes, and your brain sees squiggles of black 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 32 

and white which are words. Do you believe that you are really 
reading what Timothy Leary wrote? Does this pattern of black 
and white lines lead you to believe in the existence of a seed- 
bearing, soul-carrying human being, Timothy Leary, who sat 
one New Year's Day at a wood-grained desk littered with notes, 
clippings, books, loose tobacco, coffee cups, ashtrays, looking 
out a picture window at the silver-gray expanse of the Pacific 
Ocean, writing these lines? 

How can you be sure that Bacon wrote Shakespeare? How can 
you be sure that those lines were not arranged by a computer 
which (reacting to a Hooper-rating survey) proceeded to scan 
and sort quadrillions of pages of past computer writing and 
rearrange these lines designed to feed back exactly that level of 
ignorance-superstition-word magic that will comfort and please 
you? Do you accept your ocular data (this book) that Timothy 
Leary exists? If you could touch me, smell me, feel my warmth, 
hear my voice or my smoker's cough, would you be more con- 
vinced that I exist? 

Common sense convinces us and Dr. Johnson that something 
exists out there. 

But the mystery of knowing remains. And the awesome find- 
ings of biochemical neurology do not simplify our understand- 
ing of how we know, how we become conscious. 

The human brain, we are told, is composed of about ten 
billion nerve cells, any one of which may connect with as many 
as 25,000 other nerve cells. The number of interconnections 
which this adds up to would stagger even an astronomer and 
astronomers are used to dealing with astronomical numbers. 
The number is far greater than all the atoms in the universe. 
This is why physiologists remain unimpressed by computers. 
A computer sophisticated enough to handle this number of 
interconnections would have to be big enough to cover the 

Into this matrix floods **about 100 million sensations a second 
from . . . [the] . . . various senses." And somewhere in that 

Cellular level of consciousness: the message of DNA. Terrell P. Watson 

Cellular level of consciousness: the message of DNA. Terrell P. Watson 

The Seven Tongues of God [ 33 

10-billion-cell galaxy is a tiny solar system of connected neurons 
which is aware of your social self. Your "ego" is to your brain 
what the planet earth is to our galaxy with its 100,000 million 

B. The Psychedelic Answer to the awareness question should 
now be apparent. There is no answer, only a bleak choice of 
blind hope or insightful despair. 

On the dour side, the attentive, highly conscious person 
realizes that he is the almost helpless victim of the accidental or 
deliberate range of light-sound-pressure-chemical energies that 
impinge on his sensory nerve endings. At one time, when we 
were trustfully slumbering, a selfish, insane, power-hungry com- 
bine of exploitive conspirators suddenly moved in and systemati- 
cally censored and manipulated what was to hit our eyes, ears, 
nose, mouth, skin. A well-organized conspiracy to enslave our 
consciousness. A science fiction horror movie in which our 
captors decided exactly which energies and sensory stimuli we 
could encounter. Our 10-billion-cell nervous systems have been 
monopolized by these ruthless, selfish captors. We walk around 
on a fake-prop television studio set that our masters have de- 
signedand we play the parts they assign. Using Pavlovian con- 
ditioning of reward and punishment, our grim rulers lead us 
unsuspectingly to do exactly what they wish. 

This grim combine which determines the scope and style of 
our consciousness (for its own benefit) operates through our 
parents (themselves blind, frightened slaves) and our educa- 
tional, acculturation institutions. 

We have taken leave of our senses. We have been robbed 
blind. Sensory conditioning has forced us to accept a "reality" 
which is a comic-tragic farce illusion. We can never rid our- 
selves of the insanities deeply imprinted during infancy and 
childhood on our delicate, vulnerable nervous systems. We can 
never free ourselves completely. 

On the bright side, we can obtain a momentary (and even 
longer) release from the neurological prison. We can come to 
our senses, turn off the conditioning and experience afresh the 
hardly bearable ecstasy of direct energy exploding on our nerve 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 34 

endings. We can become seers, hear-oes, smelling tasters in real 

The awakening of the senses is the most basic aspect of the 
psychedelic experience. The open eye, the naked touch, the 
intensification and vivification of ear and nose and taste. This is 
the Zen moment of satori, the nature mystic's high, the sudden 
centering of consciousness on the sense organ, the real-eye-za- 
tion that this is it! I am eyel I am hear! I knosel I am in 

The ability to turn on the senses, to escape the conditioned 
mind, to throb in harmony with the energies radiating on the 
sense organs, the skillful control of one's senses, has for thou- 
sands of years been the mark of a sage, a holy man, a radiant 

Control of the senses is a basic part of every enduring reli- 
gious method. Control does not mean repression or closing off. 
Control means the ability to turn off the mind, ignore the en- 
ticing clamor of symbolic seduction and open the senses like 
flowers, accepting like sunshine the gift of those energies which 
man's senses are designed to receive. 

5. The Ego Question 

A. The Scientific Answer 

Who am I? 

Basic question, invariably and eagerly and insistently an- 
swered by social institutions. Always for their own benefit. 
Every religious hierarchy can tell you who you are Catholic, 
Protestant, Jew or atheist. Right? And every government agrees 
you are an American or a Russian or a Turk. Let's see your 

And the endless, lesser, monolithic social agencies tell you 
who you are occupation, recreation, political affiliation, social 
class, status, branch of service. 

Now comes the new secular state religion psychology, with 
its up-to-date answers. The great ego-identity quest. The na- 
tional personality sweepstakes. The image game. 

For the American the question, who am I? is answered totally 

The Seven Tongues of God ' [35 

in terms of artificial social roles. What part do you play in 
which TV show? And are you good or bad? How is your Hooper 
rating? Are you popular? Shallow, transient, secular evasion of 
the physical and metaphysical identity. 

Who am I? The perspective on this question comes only 
when you step off the TV stage set defined by mass-media-social- 
psychology-adjustment-normality. I exist at every level of 
energy and every level of consciousness. Who am I? I'm you. 

At the atomic level I am a galaxy of nuclear-powered atoms 
spinning through changing patterns. I am the universe, the cen- 
ter and guardian temple of all energy. I am God of Light. Who 
am I? I'm you. 

At the cellular level I am the entire chain of life. I am the key 
rung of the DNA ladder, center of the evolutionary process, the 
current guardian of the seed, the now-eye of the 2-bill ion-year- 
old uncoiling serpent. I am God of Life. I'm you. 

At the somatic level I am my body the most intricate, intel- 
ligent, complex form of energy structure. The network of my 
organs and tissues is the last word in cosmic miniaturization, 
celestial packaging. I am the Resurrection of the Body. I'm you. 

At the sensory level I am the divine receiving station, the 
sacred communications satellite, a two-legged, trembling-tissue, 
Jodrell Bank radar telescope, dancing, grumbling, sniffing 
Geiger counter. I am the Darwinian wiretap, a billion sensory 
microphones picking up vibrations from planetary energy sys- 
tems. I am the all-time, worldwide retinal ABC, eardrum RCA, 
International Smell and Tell, the consolidated General Foods 
taste laboratory. I am God of Common Sense. I'm you. 

But there's an added feature. Each generation, I, the timeless 
God, atom bearer, seed carrier, return in a new, improved, 
Detroit-model electrical-eye, horseless, carry-all body pushed 
onto a new social stage set. I am an American. I was an Irish 
farmer. I was a Celtic minstrel. I was this one and that one. 
Each time carried onstage blinking, puking, bawling, bewil- 
dered by the bizarre novelty of each new drama, untutored in 
the language of the new script (did she say her name was 
Mommie?) , unaware of the plot, each time having forgotten my 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 36 

atomic, cellular, somatic, sensory divinity, each time painfully 
being pushed and hauled into some ludicrous, histrionic con- 
sistency known today as my personality, known yesterday as 

Thus, I am the undeniably psychological unit. A mind, a box 
of conditioned Pavlovian reflexes, a social robot, here adjusted, 
there maladjusted, sometimes good (approved of) sometimes 
bad (censored) . The center of my psychological mandala, the 
mainspring of my personality, is social conditioning. Reward 
and punishment. What will the neighbors think? is the begin- 
ning and end of modern psychology. 

Now, who am I? I'm you. I'm Timothy What's His Name. I 
am what the Reader's Digest likes and dislikes. 

This commitment of ego consciousness to the social game is 
inevitable and cannot be eliminated despite the poignant ap- 
peals to drop out. We cannot drop out of society. We can only 
drop out of social roles and dramas which are unloving, con- 
tracting and which distract us from the discovery of our atomic, 
cellular, somatic and sensory divinity. Spiritual appeals to tran- 
scend the ego are vain. Like any other level of consciousness of 
energy, ego is. Karma is. All we can do is center ego conscious- 
ness and see it in proper relationship to the other "I's." The 
"social ego" is abysmally trivial when compared to the "atomic 
I," the "DNA I," but that's the glorious humor of the cosmic 
hide-and-seek. That "social ego" can possess such eccentric, fool- 
ish power to camouflage the other divinities that lie beneath 
our skin. 

So let us pray: Almighty Ego, set I free! Almighty Ego, let my 
I's see! 

B. The Psychedelic Correlates 

Modern psychology, like modern man, does not like to face 
the sparse, wrinkled-skin facts about human transience. The 
personality chess game is blown up to compelling importance. 
How am I doing? Modem education, advertising, indeed the 
whole culture, is hooked up in a full-time hard-sell campaign to 
reassure the average person that he is a good Joe, a helluva 


The Seven Tongues of God [37 

Then he takes LSD. 

Sensory chaos, somatic inundation, cellular revelation. The 
plastic-doll nature of social reality and social ego is glaringly 
obvious. In a word, ego discovers that ego is a fraudulent actor 
in a fake show. Rubber stamp and tinsel. 

Ego discovers that I is atomic, cellular, sensory, somatic and 
soon to pass on. Ego gets frightened. Panicked. Ego cries for 
help. Get me a psychiatrist! Help! Get me back to the nice, 
comforting TV stage. 

The impact of LSD is exactly this brutal answer to the ques- 
tion, who is ego? The LSD revelation is the clear perspective. 
The LSD panic is the terror that ego is lost forever. The LSD 
ecstasy is the joyful discovery that ego, with its pitiful shams and 
strivings, is only a fraction of my identity. 

6. The Ennotional Question 

A. The Scientific Answer 

What should I move toward? What direction my motion? 
What should I feel? The emotional and feeling questions. 

Here science fails miserably to give us answers because there 
is little objective data, and the accepted theories of emotional 
behavior the psychiatric are naive, inadequate, pompously 
trivial. The best-known theory of emotions, the Freudian, is a 
hodgepodge of platitude, banality and rabbinical piety. 

All that Freud said is that modern man and society are com- 
pletely dishonest. Society lies to the individual and forces him 
to lie to himself. Freud called this process of self-deception the 
unconscious. The unconscious is the hidden. Freud (the lie 
detector who lied) conscientiously listed the various ways in 
which man prevaricates and then developed a system of humili- 
ating cross-examination and spirit-breaking brainwashing which 
forces the rare "successful" patient to give up his favorite pack 
of lies (which he chose as being the best solution to an impos- 
sible situation) and grovelingly to accept the psychoanalyst's 
system of dishonesty. Have you ever noticed how unbearably 
**dead" and juiceless psychoanalysts and their patients are? The 
only cheerful fact about psychoanalysis is that most patients 
don't get cured and are stubborn enough to preserve their own 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 38 

amateur and original lie in favor of the psychoanalyst's con- 
forming lie. 

If anyone has any lingering doubt about the superstitious and 
barbarian state of psychiatry and psychoanalysis, reflect on this 
fact. Today, fifty years after Freud, the average mental hospital 
in the United States is a Kafkaesque, Orwellian, prison camp 
more terrifying than Dachau because the captors claim to be 
healers. Two hundred years ago our treatment of the village 
idiot and nutty old Aunt Agatha was gently Utopian compared 
to the intolerant savagery of the best mental hospital. 

So where do we find the scientific answer to the emotional 
question? Can you really bear to know? 

Emotions are the lowest form of consciousness. Emotional 
actions are the most contracted, narrowing, dangerous form of 

The romantic poetry and fiction of the last 200 years has 
quite blinded us to the fact that emotions are an active and 
harmful form of stupor. 

Any peasant can tell you that. Beware of emotions. Any child 
can tell you that. Watch out for the emotional person. He is a 
lurching lunatic. 

Emotions are caused by biochemical secretions in the body to 
serve during the state of acute emergency. An emotional person 
is a blind, crazed maniac. Emotions are addictive and narcotic 
and stupefacient. 

Do not trust anyone who comes on emotional. 

What are the emotions? 

In a book entitled Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality, 
written when I was a psychologist, I presented classifications of 
emotions and detailed descriptions of their moderate and ex- 
treme manifestations. Emotions are all based on fear. Like an 
alcoholic or a junkie, the frightened person reaches for his 
favorite escape into action. 

Commanding, competing, punishing, aggressing, rebelling, 
complaining, abasing, submitting, placating, agreeing, fawning, 
flattering, giving. 

The emotional person cannot think; he cannot perform any 

The Seven Tongues of God [ 39 

effective game action (except in acts of physical aggression and 
strength) . The emotional person is turned off sensually. His 
body is a churning robot; he has lost all connection with cel- 
lular wisdom or atomic revelation. The person in an emotional 
state is an inflexible robot gone berserk. 

What psychologists call love is emotional greed and self-en- 
hancing gluttony based on fear. 

B. The Psychedelic Correlate 

The only state in which we can learn, harmonize, grow, 
merge, join, understand is the absence of emotion. This is called 
bliss or ecstasy, attained through centering the emotions. 

Moods such as sorrow and joy accompany emotions. Like a 
junkie who has just scored or an alcoholic with a bottle in hand, 
the emotional person feels good when he has scored emotion- 
ally, i.e., beaten someone up or been beaten up. Won a competi- 
tive victory. Gorged himself on person grabbing. 

Conscious love is not an emotion; it is serene merging with 
yourself, with other people, with other forms of energy. Love 
cannot exist in an emotional state. 

Only the person who has been psychotic or had a deep psy- 
chedelic trip can understand what emotions do to the human 

The great kick of the mystic experience, the exultant, ecstatic 
hit, is the sudden relief from emotional pressure. 

Did you imagine that there could be emotions in heaven? 
Emotions are closely tied to ego games. Check your emotions at 
the door to paradise. 

Why, then, are emotions built into the human repertoire if 
they are so painful, demanding and blinding? There is a basic 
survival purpose. Emotions are the emergency alarms. The 
organism at the point of death terror goes into a paroxysm of 
frantic activity. Like a fish flipping blindly out of water. Like a 
crazed, cornered animal. 

There are rare times when emotions are appropriate and 
relevant. The reflex biochemical spurt. Flight or fight. There 
are times when emotional bluffs, like the hair rising on a dog's 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 40 

neck, are appropriate. But the sensible animal avoids situations 
which elicit fear and the accompanying emotion. Your wise 
animal prefers to relax or to play using his senses, tuned into 
his delicious body-organ music, closing his eyes to drift back in 
cellular memory. Dogs and cats are high all the time except 
when bad luck demands emotional measures. 

The emotional human being is an evolutionary drug addict 
continuously and recklessly shooting himself up with adrenalin 
and other dark ferments. The way to turn off the emotions is to 
turn on the senses, turn on to your body, turn on to your cellu- 
lar reincarnation circus, turn on to the electric glow within and 
engage only in turn-on ego games. 

7. The Ultimate Escape Question 

A. The Scientific Answer 

The question is: How does it end? 

The answer is: It doesn't. 

Ask any scientist (no matter which level of energy he stud- 
ies) , and he'll tell you. It keeps going. At the same beat. On. 
Off. On. Off. 

Atomic. Galaxies flash on and then off. 

Cellular. Species flare out and retract. 

Somatic. The heart beats and stops. Beats and stops. The 
lungs inhale and exhale. 

Sensory. Light comes in waves of particles hurtling against 
retinal beaches. High tide, see. Low tide, no see. The neural 
message dot-dashes along the nerve fibers. Light-dark. Light- 
dark. Sound waves pile up on the auditory membrane and fall 
back. Sound-silence. Sound-silence. 

There is no form of energy which does not come in the same 
rhythm. Yin. Yang. In. Out. The galaxy itself and every struc- 
ture within it is a binary business, an oscillating dance. Start. 

The physicist, the biologist, the physiologist, the neurologist, 
knows all about the end of the cycle at the level of energy he 
studies. Every scientist knows that death is exactly symmetrical 

The Seven Tongues of God [ 41 

to birth at every level of energy. Even the sociologists and his- 
torians who study the human game structure know that social 
institutions start and stop. 

There is only one level of consciousness that cannot accept 
the universal on-off switch, and that is the ego. The astronomer 
can gaze with equanimity at nova explosions and forecast the 
death of the solar system, but when it comes to his own ego 
chessboard, there is the illusion of enduring solidity. Ego is 
unable to learn from the past or to predict the obvious events of 
the future because of its deep dread of confronting mortality. 
Ego focuses consciousness on the few immediately neighboring 
pieces of the game board because ego knows that one glance 
across the game board or beyond it puts the whole thing in 
perspective. Where it began and how it will end. Start stop. 
Off on. 

The Buddha's loving parents tried to make sure their son 
would not consider the four chess pieces that lead off the game 
board sickness, age, death, and the magician-guru. 

Oriental philosophy points out that every form is an illusion. 
Maya. Everything at every level of energy is a shuttling series of 
vibrations as apparently solid as the whirring metal disk made 
by rotating fan blades. Ego resists this notion and touches the 
immediate solidity of phenomena. We dislike slowing the mo- 
tion picture down because the film flickers. Annoying reminder 
that we view not unbroken continuity but an off-on ribbon of 
still pictures. 

Life is an illusion. There one second, gone the next. Now you 
see it, now you don't. 

Death is equally illusory. Suicide a farce. The desire to escape 
is exactly as pointless as the desire to hang onto life. How can 
you clutch onto or escape from a relentless click-clack process 
that continues despite the mind's interpretation? And despite 
our "feelings" about it? 

But the illusory game goes on. Ego sweats to maintain a 
tenacious grasp on the ungraspable. And then, in moments of 
emotional despair, decides to hide, to quit. Hell is the convic- 
tion that the game won't stop. Eternal game playing. No exit. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 42 

Hell is the idea that the game switch won't turn off. Suicide is 
the deluded attempt to escape from hell. 

Hell is a mistake in judgment. A bum trip idea. The ego's 
stranglehold on the film projector. Ego is caught in a repetitious 
loop. Over and over and over. Suicide is the escape from ego. 
Only ego contemplates escape. Can you imagine an animal kill- 
ing itself in egocentric pique? 

Ego attempts to turn itself off through anesthesia. Uncon- 
sciousness. Fast suicide or slow narcosis. Alcohol dulls the mind 
game and produces emotional stupor. Too much alcohol pro- 
vides the anesthetic escape. Barbiturates and tranquilizers and 
sleeping pills are escape tickets bought by the frantic eschato- 
logical anethesiologist. 

Have you ever talked to an articulate junkie? The appeal of 
heroin is the void. The warm, soft cocoon of nothingness. 
Surcease. Easeful death. The vacuum gamble. The game of the 
junkie is to nod out. To pass over the line into unconsciousness. 
The last thought of the junkie as he slips away is, have I gone 
too far this time? Overdose? Au revoir or good-bye? 

B. The Psychedelic Correlate 

The deep psychedelic experience is a death-rebirth flip. You 
turn on to the ancient rhythm, and you become its beat. All 
right, now! Are you ready? The whole thing is about to click 

The successful mystic is he who goes with it. Lets it happen. 
Hello. Good-bye. Hello. Good-bye. Oh, my God! You again! 

The bad trip, the LSD panic, is the terrorized reluctance to 
go with it. Frantic grabbing for the intangible switch. Ego cries, 
keep it on! 

The glory of the psychedelic moment is the victory over life 
and death won by seeing the oscillating dance of energy and 
yielding to it. 

The age-old appeal of the psychedelic experience is its solu- 
tion to the problem of escape. The visionary revelation answers 
the escape question. There is no death. Ecstatic, mirthful relief. 

The Seven Tongues of God [ 43 

There is nothing to avoid, nothing to escape, nothing to fear. 
There is just off-on, in-out, start-stop, light-dark, flash-delay. 

Death, void, oblivion, is the split-second pause. I accept the 
on. I accept the off. 

It is of interest that the heroin addict and the illuminated 
Buddha end up at the same place. The void. The junkie is a 
deeply religious person. The alcoholic is, too. Thus our physi- 
cians and psychiatrists have no luck in "curing" addicts. If you 
see an addict as a social misfit, a civic nuisance who must be 
rehabilitated, you completely miss the point. 

To cure the junkie and the alcoholic, you must humbly 
admit that he is a more deeply spiritual person than you, and 
you accept the cosmic validity of his search to transcend the 
game, and you help him see that blackout drugs are just bad 
methodology because you just can't keep holding the "off" 
switch and that the way to reach the void is through psychedelic 
rather than anesthetic experience. 

Drugs Are the Religion of the People ^The Only Hope Is Dope 

In the preceding pages I have suggested that man can become 
conscious of each level of energy defined by scientists. 

Metaphysics is subjective physics, the psychology of atomic- 
electronic activity. Metabiology is cellular psychology. Meta- 
physiology is somatic psychology. The systematic study of in- 
ternal body states. Metaneurology is sensory physiology, the 
systematic, introspective study of sense organs. Metapsychology 
is the study of conditioning by the nervous system that has been 
conditioned. Your ego unravels its own genesis. Metapsychiatry 
is the systematic production and control of endocrine states 
within your own body. Meta-anesthesiology is the systematic 
production and control of states of unconsciousness within your 
own body. 

Everyone must become his own Einstein, his own Darwin, his 
own Claude Bernard, his own Penfield, his own Pavlov, his own 
Freud, his own anesthesiologist. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [44 

From the theological standpoint, everyone must discover the 
seven faces of God within his own body. 

This task, which at first glance may seem fantastically Uto- 
pian, is actually very easy to initiate because there now exist 
instruments which can move consciousness to any desired level. 
The laboratory equipment for experimental theology, for in- 
ternal science, is of course made of the stuff of consciousness 
itself, made of the same material as the data to be studied. The 
instruments of systematic religion are chemicals. Drugs. Dope. 

If you are serious about your religion, if you really wish to 
commit yourself to the spiritual quest, you must learn how to 
use psychochemicals. Drugs are the religion of the twenty-first 
century. Pursuing the religious life today without using psyche- 
delic drugs is like studying astronomy with the naked eye be- 
cause that's how they did it in the first century a.d., and besides, 
telescopes are unnatural. 

There Are Specific Drugs to Turn On Each Level of 

Modern psychopharmacology is written and practiced by scien- 
tists who do not take drugs (and who therefore write textbooks 
about events they have never experienced) . Current psycho- 
pharmacology is a superstitious form of black magic sponsored 
and supported by the federal Food and Drug Administration, a 
government agency about as enlightened as the Spanish Inquisi- 
tion. Note that the rapidly growing enforcement branch of the 
FDA uses instruments unknown to Torquemada guns, wire- 
tapsin addition to the classic methods of informers and pro- 
vocateurs. There is thus enormous ignorance about the science 
of consciousness alteration and a vigorous punitive campaign to 
prevent its application. 

There are specific drugs now easily available which can turn 
on each level of consciousness. Since Americans are more fa- 
miliar with and committed to consciousness-contracting drugs, I 
shall list the better-known psychochemical instruments in re- 
verse order. 

The Seven Tongues of God [ 45 

7. The Anesthetic State is produced by narcotics, barbitu- 
rates, and large doses of alcohol. Anyone can reach the void by 
self-administration of stupefacients. Most Americans know just 
how to pass out. 

6. The State of Emotional Stupor is produced by moderate 
doses of alcohol. Three martinis do nicely. 

5. The State of Ego Consciousness is enhanced by pep pills, 
energizers consumed daily by millions of Americans. Pep pills 
make you feel good. Make you feel active. They change noth- 
ing, but they propel you into game motion. Coffee, tea, and 
Coca-Cola are mild versions. 

4. The State of Sensory Awareness is produced by any psy- 
chedelic drug LSD, mescaline, psilocybin, MDA, yaje, hashish, 
Semyl, DMT but the specific, direct trigger for turning on the 
senses is marijuana. 

3. The State of Somatic Awareness is attained by any psy- 
chedelic drugs stronger than marijuana but the specific triggers 
for cakra consciousness are hashish and MDA. 

2. The Cellular Level of Consciousness is attained by any of 
the stronger psychedelics peyote, LSD, mescaline, psilocybin. 

L The Atomic-Electronic Level of Consciousness is produced 
by the most powerful psychedelics LSD, STP, DMT. 

Try Your Own Experiment 

This listing of seven levels of consciousness is based not on 
revelation or poetic metaphor but on the structure of modern 
science. We simply assume that there is a different level of con- 
sciousness for each major division of science which, in turn, is 
based on the major classes of energy manifestation. 

The decision as to which drugs turn on which levels of con- 
sciousness is empirical, based on thousands of psychedelic ex- 
periences. I have personally taken drugs which trigger off each 
level of consciousness hundreds of times. 

But my findings can be easily checked out. Any reader can 
initiate experiments of his own with easily available chemicals. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 46 

Turn on a tape recorder during your next cocktail party. 
Notice how rational ego-game playing deteriorates and the 
emotional level rises in exact proportion to the amount of booze 
consumed. You have moved consciousness from level 5 to level 6. 

Next, turn on your tape recorder during a pot party. Notice 
how the emotional level drops, serenity increases. Observe the 
intensified attention to sensory energy. The relaxation of game 
tension. You have moved consciousness from level 5 to level 4. 

If you are a diligent experimental theologian, you may wish 
to see if you can take the fantastic voyage down your body or 
down into time, using the appropriate chemical instruments. 
Psychedelic yoga is not a mysterious, arcane specialty reserved 
for Ph.D.'s and a scientific elite. Anyone who is curious about 
the nature of God and reality can perform the experiments. 
Indeed, millions of Americans have done just this in the last few 

The Seven Religious Yogas 

The psychedelic experience, far from being new, is man's oldest 
and most classic adventure into meaning. Every religion in 
world history was founded on the basis of some flipped-out 
visionary trip. 

Religion is the systematic attempt at focusing man's con- 
sciousness. Comparative religion should concern itself less with 
the exoteric and academic differences and more with studying 
the different levels of consciousness turned on by each religion. 

We see that there are seven approaches employed by the great 
world religions. 

Seven dialects of God 

1. Buddhism attempts to transcend life and cellular manifes- 
tations and to strive toward the white light of the void, the 
unitary atomic-electronic flash beyond form. 

2. Hinduism is a vegetative jungle of reincarnation imagery. 
Clearly cellular. Evolutionary. Genetic. 

The Seven Tongues of God [47 

3. Tantra (Tibetan, Bengali) focuses on somatic energy 
(Kundalini) and cakra consciousness. 

4. Zen J Hasidic Judaism, Siifism, and early Christianity used 
methods for centering sensual energy. 

5. Protestantism and Talmudic Judaism are the classic ego 
religions. Logic, hard work and Main Street practicality will get 
you to heaven. 

6. Middle-class Catholicism and devil-oriented fundamental- 
ist sects are based on the arousal of emotion fear. 

7. Suicide and death cults 

Different Sciences Study Different Basic Questions 

Each of the seven basic questions faced by man has been studied 
for thousands of years by thoughtful individuals and by institu- 
tions, disciplines and professions. In the last 60 years, physical 
and biological scientists have pretty well agreed on a systematic 
and unified perspective of the wide range of energy processes 
and structures. A remarkably efficient classification of subject 
matter and a civilized, tolerant division of labor have de- 

Scientists generally agree that there are definable levels of 
energy and, what is most important for harmonious collabora- 
tion, agree on the relations of the different levels of energy. The 
physicist knows that he studies a different phenomenon than 
the behavioral psychologist. Electrons are different from re- 
corded emotions. Both the physicist and psychologist recognize 
that atomic processes are basic to and underlie all physiological 
and psychological activities. A hierarchy of sciences exists, based 
not on bureaucratic or political factors but on the nature of the 
level of energy studied. The physicist studies processes which 
are billions of times smaller (and larger) than those of the 
psychologist, processes which are billions of times faster and 
older than human psychological processes. Electrons were spun 
off the sun billions of years before man's adrenalin glands pro- 
pelled him to flight. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 48 

Each Level of Energy Requires Its Own Methods and 

Among human beings (members of a species best known for its 
competitive belligerence and murderous envy) , physical and 
biological scientists are relatively immune to fraternal homi- 
cide. Biologists don't war against physicists. An American biolo- 
gist might war against members of another species, or another 
nationality or religion. An American bacteriologist might de- 
velop a germ used to destroy Vietnamese people, but he does 
not war against other biologists about biological issues. Indeed, 
American and Soviet scientists collaborate even during times of 
political warfare. 

The ability of scientists to communicate, teach each other, 
help each other in spite of racial and national differences is due 
to the fact that they share an effective, precise language system. 

When Johnson and Ho say, "Peace," they use the word quite 
differently. When Pope Paul and a Buddhist monk say, "God," 
who knows what they mean? 

When a chemist writes a formula, all chemists know what he 
means. And all physicists know specifically or vaguely how the 
chemist's molecular formula relates to atomic processes. 

The disciplines of neurology, psychology and psychiatry, 
however, have not yet reached a scientific state. No satisfactory 
language system exists in their fields. Neurologists quarrel with 
psychiatrists about the causes of mental illness. Psychologists 
cannot tell us how man learns or forgets. Enormous priesthoods 
have developed in these three fields which jockey for power, 
funds, prestige but which fail to provide answers or even to 
define problems. 

The entire study of consciousness, the religious experience 
itself, remains in a state of medieval ignorance and superstition. 
There is no language for describing states of awareness. Reli- 
gious scholars and theologians quarrel, not just about moral 
fads and ritual paraphernalia but, more basically, about the 
answers to the seven basic questions. 

The Seven Tongues of God [ 49 

The humanistic sciences neurology, psychology, psychiatry, 
psychopharmacology and the study of consciousness (which I 
call religion) require a systematic language which will allow 
men to distinguish which levels of energy and consciousness 
they deal with. 

It is rather unfortunate that Western man developed a lan- 
guage of physics and chemistry and a highly efficient engineer- 
ing based on physical-chemical experimentation long before he 
developed understanding and control of his own sense organs 
and neurological conditioning. Thus we now have a situation 
where blind, irrational, technical robots (who understand 
neither their makeup nor the purpose of life) are in control of 
powerful and dangerous energies. 

A conversation with Alan Watts: 

Leary: Alan, what is the purpose of life? 

Watts: That is the question! 

Leary: What do you mean? 

Watts: The purpose of life is to ask the question, what is the 
purpose of life? is to ask the question, what is the purpose of life? 

The only purpose of life is the religious quest, the religious 
question. But you must be careful how you put the question 
because the level at which you ask is the level at which you will 
be answered. 

I have suggested seven levels of energy and consciousness 
which are based on the anatomy or structure of the human body 
and its constituent parts neurological, somatic, cellular, molec- 
ular. The religions of the future must be based on these seven 
scientific questions. A science of consciousness must be based on 
those different levels which center on the body and the bio- 
chemicals (i.e., drugs) which alter consciousness. 

Dramatic changes in our child-rearing and educational prac- 
tices, politics, communications will occur as man grasps this 
notion of the levels of consciousness and their alteration. 

Table 1 presents a highly simplified summary of the seven 
levels of consciousness and their implications for science, reli- 
gion, art and drug taking. 


The seven levels of energy consciousness, the drugs which induce them and the 
sciences and religions which study each level. 






Level of 

ligence Com- 




Com- munica- 

Drug to 





munica- tion 







tion Struc- 




of en- 



Center ture 








Nucleus Elec- 








of atom tron 









Biology Peyote 


















3. Auto- Organs Physiol- MDA Tantra Cakras Bosch Sensory 

Somatic nomic of body ogy Hash- Kunda- depriva- 

nerve ish lini tion 


4. Brain 


Sense Neurol- Mari- 
organs ogy juana 

Zen, Satori Sensory Incense 

Sufism, art Dance 

early Music 

Chris- Chant- 

tian- ing, etc. 

ity, Ha- 

5. Mind Social Psychol- Pep 

Mental- imprint behavior ogy piUs 

Social plus 

Judaism Christ Repro- Sermons 
Protes- Messiah ductive 
tantism art 


6. Endo- Emo- Psychia- Alcohol Catholi- Devil Propa- Super- 

Emo- crine tional try cism ganda stitious 

tional centers behavior Funda- ritual 

stupor mental- 




Nar- Death 




cotics cults 






While many drugs induce awareness at more than one level (for example 
hashish turns on at levels 4 and 5) , only LSD can move consciousness to all 
seven levels (often at the same instant) . 

The Seven Tongues of God [ 51 

Science as Ecstatic Kick 

When we read about the current findings of the energy sciences 
such as those I have just reviewed, how can our reaction be 
other than reverent awe at the grandeur of these observations, 
at the staggering complexity of the design, the speed, the scope? 
Ecstatic humility before such power and intelligence. Indeed, 
what a small, secular concept intelligence to describe that 
infinitude of harmonious complexityl How impoverished our 
vocabulary and how narrow our imagination! 

Of course, the findings of the pure sciences do not produce 
the religious reaction we should expect. We are satiated with 
secular statistics, dazed into robot dullness by the enormity of 
facts which we are not educated to comprehend. Although the 
findings of physics, genetics, paleontology and neurology have 
tremendous relevance to our life, they are of less interest than a 
fall in the stock market or the status of the pennant race. 

The message is dimly grasped hypothetically, rationally, but 
never experienced, felt, known. But there can be that staggering, 
intellectual-game ecstasy which comes when you begin to sense 
the complexity of the plan. To pull back the veil and see for a 
second a fragment of the energy dance, the life power. How can 
you appreciate the divine unless you comprehend the smallest 
part of the fantastic design? To experience (it's always for a 
moment) the answers to the seven basic spiritual questions is to 
me the peak of the religious-scientific quest. 

But how can our ill-prepared nervous systems grasp the 
message? Certainly the average man cannot master the con- 
ceptual, mathematical bead game of the physics graduate stu- 
dent. Must his experiential contact with the divine process 
come in watered-down symbols, sermons, hymns, robot rituals, 
religious calendar art, moral-behavior sanctions eventually secu- 
lar in their aim? Fortunately the great plan has produced a 
happy answer and has endowed every human being with the 
equipment to comprehend, to know, to experience directly, in- 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 52 

controvertibly. It's there in that network of 10 billion cells, the 
number of whose interconnections "is far greater than all the 
atoms in the universe." 

If you can, for the moment, throw off the grip of your learned 
mind, your conditioning, and experience the message con- 
tained in the 10-billion-tube computer which you carry behind 
your forehead, you would know the awe-full truth. Our research 
suggests that even the uneducated layman can experience di- 
rectly what is slowly deduced by scientists for example, physi- 
cists, whose heavy, conceptual minds lumber along at three con- 
cepts a second, attempting to fathom the speed-of-light processes 
which their beautiful machines record and which their beauti- 
ful symbols portray. 

But the brakes can be released. Our recent studies support 
the hypothesis that psychedelic foods and drugs, ingested by 
prepared subjects in a serious, sacred, supportive atmosphere, 
can put the subject in perceptual touch with other levels of 
energy exchanges. Remember the data the Good Friday study, 
the Savage study, the 200 religious professionals, 40 to 90 per- 
cent telling us they experienced "a greater awareness of God or 
a higher power or an ultimate reality." 

The Language off Ecstasy 

But to what do these LSD subjects refer when they report 
spiritual reactions? Do they obtain specific illuminations into 
the seven basic questions, or are their responses simply awe and 
wonder at the experienced novelty? Even if the latter were the 
case, could it not support the religious application of the 
psychedelic substances and simply underline the need for more 
sophisticated religious language coordinated with the scientific 
data? But there is some evidence, phenomenological but yet 
haunting, that the spiritual insights accompanying the psyche- 
delic experience might be subjective accounts of the objective 
findings of astronomy, physics, biochemistry, and neurology. 
Now the neurological and pharmacological explanations of 

The Seven Tongues of God [ 53 

an LSD vision are still far from being understood. We know 
almost nothing about the physiology of consciousness and the 
body-cortex interaction. We cannot assert that LSD subjects are 
directly experiencing what particle physicists and biochemists 
measure, but the evidence about the detailed complexity of the 
genetic code and the astonishing design of intracellular com- 
munication should caution us against labeling experiences out- 
side of our current tribal cliches as "psychotic" or abnormal. 
For 3,000 years our greatest prophets and philosophers have 
been telling us to look within, and today our scientific data are 
supporting that advice with a humiliating finality. The limits of 
introspective awareness may well be submicroscopic, cellular, 
molecular and even nuclear. We only see, after all, what we are 
trained and predisposed to see. One of our current research 
projects involves teaching subjects to recognize internal physical 
processes much as we train a beginning biology student to 
recognize events viewed through his microscope. 

No matter how parsimonious our explanations, we must ac- 
cept the fact that LSD subjects do claim to experience revela- 
tions into the basic questions and do attribute life change to 
their visions. 

We are, of course, at the very beginning of our research into 
these implications. A new experiential language and perhaps 
even new metaphors for the great plan will develop. We have 
been working on this project for the past six years, writing 
manuals which train subjects to recognize energy processes, 
teaching subjects to communicate via a machine we call the 
experiential typewriter and with movies of microbiological 
processes. And we have continued to pose the questions to reli- 
gious and philosophic groups: What do you think? Are these 
biochemical visions religious? 

Before you answer, remember that God (however you define 
the higher power) produced that wonderful molecule, that 
extraordinarily powerful organic substance we call LSD, just as 
surely as He created the rose, or the sun, or the complex cluster 
of molecules you insist on calling your "self." 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 54 

Professional Priests and Theologians Avoid the Religious 

Among the many harassing complications of our research into 
religious experience has been the fact that few people, even 
some theological professionals, have much conception of what a 
religious experience really is. Few have any idea how the divine 
process presents itself. If asked, they tend to become embar- 
rassed, intellectual, evasive. The adored cartoonists of the Re- 
naissance portray the ultimate power as a dove, or a flaming 
bush, or as a man venerable, with a white beard, or on a cross, 
or as a baby, or a sage seated in the full lotus position. Are these 
not limiting incarnations, temporary housings, of the great 
energy process? 

In the fall of 1962, a minister and his wife, as part of a cou- 
rageous and dedicated pursuit of illumination, took a psyche- 
delic biochemical called dimethyltriptamine. This wondrous 
alkaloid (which closely approximates serotonin, the natural 
*'lubricant" of our higher nervous system) produces an intense 
psychedelic effect. In twenty-five minutes (about the duration 
of the average sermon) you are whirled through the energy 
dance, the cosmic process, at the highest psychedelic speed. The 
twenty-five minutes are sensed as lasting for a second and for a 
billion-year Kalpa. After the session, the minister complained 
that the experience, although shattering and revelatory, was 
disappointing because it was "content-free" so physical, so un- 
familiar, so scientific, like being beamed through microscopic 
panoramas, like being oscillated through cellular functions at 
radar acceleration. Well, what do you expect? If God were to 
take you on a visit through His "workshop," do you think you'd 
walk or go by bus? Do you really think it would be a stroll 
through a celestial Madame Tussaud waxworks? Dear friends, 
the divine product is evident in every macroscopic form, in 
every secular event. The divine product we can see. But the 
divine process operates in time dimensions which are far be- 
yond our routine, secular, space-time limits. Wave vibrations. 

The Seven Tongues of God [ 55 

energy dance, cellular transactions. Our science describes this 
logically. Our brains may be capable of dealing with these 
processes experientially. 

So here we are. The great process has placed in our hands a 
key to this direct visionary world. Is it hard for us to accept that 
the key might be an organic molecule and not a new myth or a 
new word? 

The Politics of Revelation 

And where do we go? There are in the United States today 
several million persons who have experienced what I have at- 
tempted to describe a psychedelic, religious revelation. There 
are, I would estimate, several million equally thoughtful people 
who have heard the joyous tidings and who are waiting pa- 
tiently but determinedly for the prohibition to end. 

There is, of course, the expected opposition. The classic con- 
flict of the religious drama always changing, always the same. 
The doctrine (which was originally someone's experience) now 
threatened by the new experience. This time the administrators 
have assigned the inquisitorial role to the psychiatrists, whose 
proprietary claims to a revealed understanding of the mind and 
whose antagonism to consciousness expansion are well known to 

The clamor over psychedelic drugs is now reaching full 
crescendo. You have heard rumors and you have read the press 
assaults and the slick-magazine attacks-by-innuendo. As sophisti- 
cated adults, you have perhaps begun to wonder: why the hys- 
terical outcry? As scientists, you are beginning to ask: where is 
the evidence? As educated men with an eye for history, you are, 
I trust, beginning to suspect that we've been through this many 
times before. 

In the current hassle over psychedelic plants and drugs, you 
are witnessing a good, old-fashioned, traditional, religious con- 
troversy. On the one side the psychedelic visionaries, somewhat 
uncertain about the validity of their revelations, embarrassedly 
speaking in new tongues (there never is, you know, the satisfac- 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 56 

tion of a sound, right academic language for the new vision of 
the divine) , harassed by the knowledge of their own human 
frailty, surrounded by the inevitable legion of eccentric would- 
be followers looking for a new panacea, always in grave doubt 
about their own motivation hero? martyr? crank? crackpot? 
always on the verge of losing their material achievements job, 
reputation, long-suffering wife, conventional friends, parental 
approval always under the fire of the power holders. And on 
the other side the establishment (the administrators, the police, 
the fund-granting foundations, the job givers) pronouncing 
their familiar lines in the drama: "Danger! Madness! Unsound! 
Intellectual corruption of youth! Irreparable damage! Cult- 
ism!" The issue of chemical expansion of consciousness is hard 
upon us. During the last few years, every avenue of propaganda 
has barraged you with the arguments. You can hardly escape it. 
You are going to be pressed for a position. Internal freedom is 
becoming a major religious and civil rights controversy. 

How can you decide? How can you judge? Well, it's really 
quite simple. Whenever you hear anyone sounding off on in- 
ternal freedom and consciousness-expanding foods and drugs 
whether pro or con check out these questions: 

1. Is your expert talking from direct experience, or simply 
repeating cliches? Theologians and intellectuals often deprecate 
"experience" in favor of fact and concept. This classic debate is 
falsely labeled. Most often it becomes a case of "experience" 
versus "inexperience." 

2. Do his words spring from a spiritual or from a mundane 
point of view? Is he motivated by a dedicated quest for answers 
to basic questions, or is he protecting his own social-psychologi- 
cal position, his own game investment? Is he struggling toward 
sainthood, or is he maintaining his status as a hard-boiled 
scientist or hard-boiled cop? 

3. How would his argument sound if it were heard in a 
different culture (for example, in an African jungle hut, a ghat 
on the Ganges, or on another planet inhabited by a form of life 
superior to ours) or in a different time (for example, in Peri- 
clean Athens, or in a Tibetan monastery, or in a bull session led 

The Seven Tongues of God [ 57 

by any one of the great religious leaders founders messiahs) ? 
Or how would it sound to other species of life on our planet 
today to the dolphins, to the consciousness of a redwood tree? 
In other words, try to break out of your usual tribal game set 
and listen with the ears of another one of God's creatures. 

4. How would the debate sound to you if you were fatally 
diseased with a week to live, and thus less committed to mun- 
dane issues? Our research group receives many requests a week 
for consciousness-expanding experiences, and some of these 
come from terminal patients. ^^ 

5. Is the point of view one which opens up or closes down? 
Are you being urged to explore, experience, gamble out of 
spiritual faith, join someone who shares your cosmic ignorance 
on a collaborative voyage of discovery? Or are you being pres- 
sured to close off, protect your gains, play it safe, accept the 
authoritative voice of someone who knows best? 

6. When we speak, we say little about the subject matter and 
disclose mainly the state of our own mind. Does your psyche- 
delic expert use terms which are positive, pro-life, spiritual, in- 
spiring, opening, based on faith in the future, faith in your 
potential, or does he betray a mind obsessed by danger, material 
concern, by imaginary terrors, administrative caution or essen- 
tial distrust in your potential? Dear friends, there is nothing in 
life to fear; no spiritual game can be lost. 

7. If he is against what he calls "artificial methods of illumi- 
nation," ask him what constitutes the natural. Words? Rituals? 
Tribal customs? Alkaloids? Psychedelic vegetables? 

8. If he is against biochemical assistance, where does he draw 
the line? Does he use nicotine? alcohol? penicillin? vitamins? 
conventional sacramental substances? 

9. If your advisor is against LSD, what is he for? If he forbids 
you the psychedelic key to revelation, what does he offer you 


1 Walter N. Pahnke, Drugs and Mysticism: An Analysis of the Relation- 
ship between Psychedelic Drugs and the Mystical Consciousness. A thesis 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 58 

presented to the Committee on Higher Degrees in History and Philosophy 
of Religion, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of 
doctor of philosophy. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 
June 1963. 

2 "The Subjective After-Effects of Psychedelic Experiences: A Summary 
of Four Recent Questionnaire Studies," Psychedelic Review, Vol. I, No. I 

(June 1963), pp. 18-26. 

ST. Leary, G. H. Litwin, and R. Metzner, "Reactions to Psilocybin Ad- 
ministered in a Supportive Environment," Journal of Nervous and Mental 
Disease, Vol. 137, No. 6 (December 1963) , pp. 561-73. 

4 C. Savage, W. W. Harman, and J. Fadiman, "A Follow-up Note on the 
Psychedelic Experience." Paper delivered at a meeting of the American 
Psychiatric Association. St. Louis, Missouri, May 1963. 

5K. S. Ditman, M. Haymon, and J. R. S. Whittlesey, "Nature and Fre- 
quency of Claims Following LSD," Journal of Nervous and Mental Dis- 
ease, Vol. 134 (1962) , pp. 346-52. 

6 W. H. McGlothlin, Long-Lasting Effects of LSD on Certain Attitudes in 
Normals: An Experimental Proposal. Privately printed. The Rand Cor- 
poration, Santa Monica, California, June 1962, p. 56. Cf. W. H. McGloth- 
lin, S. Cohen, and M. S. McGlothlin, Short-Term Effects of LSD on 
Anxiety, Attitudes, and Performance. Ibid., June 1963, p. 15. 
"^ A continuing present-day instance is the case of members of the Native 
American Church, a duly constituted and recognized religious denomina- 
tion numbering almost a quarter of a million adherents. A good popular 
account of their situation is presented in "Peyote," by A. Stump, in Saga, 
Vol. 26, No.. 3 (June 1963) , pp. 46-49, 81-83. Cf. the Supreme Court's 
decision, Oliver v. Udall, 306 F2d 819 (1962) . The most recently proposed 
legislation against peyote is seen in the Congressional Record (House) for 
December 13, 1963. W. La Barre's famous book, The Peyote Cult, was 
reprinted in an enlarged edition in August 1964 by the Shoe String Press 

(Hamden, Connecticut) and brings the entire discussion up to date. For 
a good general statement in another area of research, see "The Hallucino- 
genic Drugs," by Barron, Jarvik, and Bunnell, Scientific American, Vol. 
210, No. 4 (April 1964) , pp. 29-37. 

8R. C. Zaehner, At Sundry Times, London: Faber & Faber, 1958, p. 57. 
An essay in the comparison of religions. 

H. Woltereck, What Science Knows About Life, New York: Association 
Press, 1963. 

10 G. Schenk, The History of Man, New York: Chilton, 1961, pp. 56-57. 

11 Ibid., p. 238. 

12 R. Campbell, "The Circuits of the Senses," in a series on "The Human 
Body" (Part IV) , Life, Vol. 54, No. 27 (June 27, 1963) , pp. 64-76b. 

13 The medical press has recently reported on the analgesic use of LSD 
with terminal cancer patients. Cf. Medical World Neios (August 30, 1963) , 
Medical Tribune (April 8, 1963) , and Journal of the American Medical 
Association (January 4, 1964) . 


What to Do When the Vietcong Drop 
LSD in Our Water Supply* 

Psychiatric Panic 

An article by Dr. E. James Lieberman entitled 'Tsycho-Chemi- 
cals as Weapons," published in the January 1962 Bulletin of 
Atomic Science J could lead to serious confusion in the minds of 
a credulous public and a credulous military. The author seems 
to be moved by admirable democratic sentiments, but he has 
mixed together an astonishing combination of psychiatric folk- 
lore and chemical warfare fantasy. The results are misleading. 

The so-called psychotropic weapons deplored in this article 
are lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) , mescaline (the synthetic 
of the "divine peyote cactus") , and psilocybin (the synthetic of 
the sacred mushroom of Mexico) . The author, a psychiatrist, 
warns that "catastrophic damage that would be neither re- 
versible nor humane" might follow the ingestion of these drugs. 

Dr. Lieberman has presented one of the many sharply di- 
vergent viewpoints about the interpretation and application of 
these drugs. Many psychiatrists believe that LSD, mescaline and 
psilocybin produce psychiatric symptoms anxiety, depression, 
detachment, confusion, suspicion, psychosis. Many other inves- 
tigators have come to the conclusion that these symptoms exist 

* This article was written with the help of George Litwin, Michael Hollings- 
heacl, Gunther Weil and Richard Alpert. and was first published in the Bulletin 
of Atomic Science, May 1962. 

[ 59 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 60 

mainly in the mind and eye of the psychiatrist and that con- 
sciousness-expanding chemicals, far from being dangerous 
weapons, may produce dramatic changes in personality leading 
to unprecedented peace, sanity and happiness. 

Perhaps it depends on what you are trained to look for. Most 
psychiatrists who have experimented with such consciousness- 
affecting drugs report danger. Most nonpsychiatrists see these 
drugs as great benefactors of mankind. Included in the latter 
group are Albert Hoffman, the brilliant biochemist who first 
synthesized LSD and psilocybin; Alan Watts, author and phi- 
losopher; Robert S. de Ropp, biochemist; Aldous Huxley, nov- 
elist and philosopher; and the great American psychologist and 
philosopher William James. Also included among those who 
hail the humanistic promise of consciousness-expanding drugs 
are a few psychiatrists who have seen beyond psychopathology 
to the adaptive potential of the human brain. 

What Are Psychedelic Drugs? 

So much for the controversial. Research and not words will 
resolve these issues. But let us look next at the secure knowledge 
which exists concerning mescaline, LSD, and psilocybin. What 
are these substances? Sacramental foods? Devilish weapons? 
Wonder medicines? It is easier to say what they are not. They are 
not addictive, nor sedative, nor intoxicating. There is no evi- 
dence for any lasting and very few transient physical effects. 
Everyone agrees on one factor they dramatically alter con- 
sciousness and expand awareness. 

There is a second generally shared conclusion. Set and sug- 
gestibility, expectation and emotional atmosphere account for 
almost all of the specificity of reaction. If the drug giver is 
supportive, open, relaxed, then the results will usually be posi- 
tive, educational, dramatically insightful. If, on the other hand, 
the drug giver is secretive, depersonalized, himself fearful of the 
drug, then the reactions will probably be anxious and un- 

What to Do When the Vietcong Drop LSD [ 61 

As members of a research project studying the effects and 
application of consciousness-expanding drugs, we have had the 
opportunity of observing the behavioral and phenomenological 
reactions of thousands of subjects. A glance at some of our re- 
sults suggests that the military applications of consciousness- 
expanding drugs may be limited. To date, 91 percent of the 
Americans who have participated in our research report pleas- 
ant, inspirational experiences. Even with no attempt to be 
therapeutic and with only one ingestion, over 60 percent of our 
subjects report subsequent life changes for the better. 

During 1962-63 we used these drugs for rehabilitation pur- 
poses in a maximum-security prison. During more than 100 
individual ingestions by hardened criminals, we witnessed dra- 
matic insight and behavior-change reactions. 

Beware Fear and Ignorance 

Like any product of our advanced technology, the consciousness- 
expanding drugs can be used to manipulate, dominate, frighten 
or benefit mankind. A hypodermic syringe of LSD or Salk vac- 
cine in the hands of an enemy can become a frightening 
weapon. However, the greatest enemies of mankind are igno- 
rance and fear. In the hands of the unfriendly, these weapons can 
paralyze and destroy. 

What are the protections? Accurate information openly 
shared and calm, courageous response to the evidence. Psychi- 
atrists and physicians on whom Dr. Lieberman calls for rescue 
from danger, perhaps imaginary, can help to the extent they are 
collaborative, open, fearless with their fellow men. If the Ameri- 
can people are frightened by psychopathological obsessions and 
psychiatric superstitions and ill-kept chemical warfare secrets, 
they can be hurt. We are least vulnerable and strongest when 
we are well-informed. Facts are the defense against any weapon, 
and particularly the psychological weapons of fear and help- 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 62 

Be Prepared 

The facts about consciousness-expanding substances are not all 
in yet, but some things are clear. Physiologically these sub- 
stances act mainly on the brain stem, disinhibiting certain regu- 
lating, selecting, screening and controlling mechanisms that 
constantly guide our perception and thinking. The higher, con- 
scious centers are free temporarily from these artificial restric- 
tions. Behaviorally the main effect of these substances is relaxa- 
tion. Most of our subjects are very happy just to sit and enjoy 
the world. There is much less talking, much less superficial 
movement or conversation. Let us be clear; almost all of our 
subjects could function very adequately if called on. They 
choose to relax. Psychologically these amazing substances ex- 
pand your awareness, open your mind. The kaleidoscopic and 
complex world that has always been there, the powerful sensa- 
tions from every part of your body and the unusual connections 
of thoughts and feelings that are normally ignored come dra- 
matically into consciousness. 

Of course these experiences can be frightening. If you are not 
prepared, if you do not know what is happening to you and 
your brain, if you are struggling to maintain complete verbal 
control over your senses and your awareness, you will certainly 
be frightened. But if you are prepared, if you know what kind 
of a chemical you have taken and what to expect (which most 
subjects participating in psychiatric research with these sub- 
stances do not) , if you do relax, then the experience can be 
wonderful, enlightening, and life-changing. If an enemy drops 
LSD in the water supply and if you are accurately informed and 
prepared, then you have two choices. If you have the time and 
inclination, you should sit back and enjoy the most exciting 
educational experience of your life (you might be forever grate- 
ful to the saboteur) . If you don't have the time or inclination 
for this pleasant and insightful experience, then swallow a tran- 
quilizer, and you'll be back to the prosaic reality. Tomorrow 

What to Do When the Vietcong Drop LSD [ 63 

the drugs and the counterdrugs may be different, but the pre- 
scription is the same. 

Turn On the Pentagon 

If an enemy introduced a consciousness-expanding drug into a 
military command center, our leaders if they are accurately 
informed and experienced about the potentials of expanded 
awareness might find that men in certain key positions could 
function better. In fact, we must assume that these substances 
are now being used by our space agency for the preparation of 
astronauts, who will certainly undergo altered states of con- 
sciousness in space exploration. 

Your brain is your own. Intelligent, open collaboration can 
expand your mind with words and with drugs. Only ignorance 
and misinformation can allow someone else to control it with 
their own words or with their drugs or with their imaginary 



The Fifth Freedom 

The Right to Get High* 

Expansion and Contraction Is tiie Rhythm of the Universe 

The tension between the flowing process and the fixed struc- 
ture. Let go! Pull back! Let go! Pull back! 

Inorganic processes: The expanding gaseous cloud whirls into 
temporary patterned structures. The structures always chang- 
ing, hurtling toward eventual entropy. Let go. Pull back. 

Organic processes: Watery, electro-biochemical globules clus- 
ter into cells. Cells cluster into temporary hardened forms 
(vegetative or animal) , themselves always changing, eventually 
returning to the entropic. Let go. Pull back. 

Social processes: The free, expansive vision is molded into the 
institutional. Hardly has the institutional mortar set before 
there is a new cortical upheaval, an explosive, often ecstatic or 
prophetic revelation. The prophet is promptly jailed. A hun- 
dred years later his followers are jailing the next visionary. 

The Ancient Game: Visionary vs. Cop 

One is led naively to exclaim: Will man never learn the lesson 
of cyclical process? Must we continue to jail, execute, exile our 
ecstatic visionaries and then enshrine them as tomorrow's heroes? 

Written with the hcl|) of my friend Richard Alpert and first published in the 
Harvard Review, Vol. I, No. 4, Summer 1963. 


The Harvard Review 

Summer 1963, Vol. I, No. 4 


7 The Mushroom Rites of Mexico R. Gordon Wasson 

18 Hallucinogenic Plants of the New 

World Richard Evans Schultes 

33 The Politics of Consciousness Timothy Leary 

Expansion Richard Alpert 

38 'Up' on Psilocybin Richard Jones 

44 An Artist's View Arthur Hoener 

51 Mushrooms and Mystics : A Caveat David F. Ricks 

56 Narcotics in the U. S.: A Brief History . . Norman E. Zinberg 

63 Reflections of a Peyote Eater Chase Mellen III 


The Naked Lunch David Swanson 

The Drug Experience S. Clark Woodroe 


The Harvard Review is published quarterly during the academic yearj 
single copies 75 cents, subscriptions, $2 in Cambridge, $3 elsewhere. The views 
expressed in the articles that follow are those of the authors, and not necessarily 
those of the Review staff or its sponsors. Copyrighted 1963 by Andrew T. 

"The Politics of Consciousness E^ansion'* (reprinted 
here as "The Fifth Freedom the Right to Get High") fiist 
appeared in The Harvard Review ( 1 963). 

Xlie Politics 
and Etliic:9 of 

Uy TimotliT M.emwy Pli.IB. 

The unsupervised, indiscrimi- 
nate use of psychedelic drugs 
for kicks is dangerous. Dis- 
ciplined, scientific efforts to 
study them hold vast promise. 
Many disagree with Timothy 
Leary, but his opinions grow 
out of one of the most exten- 
sive explorations ever made 
into the world of expanded 
consciousness. From this 
background he reports what 
these drugs do and predicts 
what their impact will be on 
our laws and morals. 

In the past, men fought over symbols 
the cross or the crescent, or which version 
of the Bible you used. Issues such as these 
led to imprisonment, and even to death. 

Today, in the molecular age, the issue . 
i<; not what books you read, or which 
s\mbols you use, but which chemicals 
.ire part of your life and your growth. 

Life magazine recently told us that 
there are a million doses of LSD being- 
used this year in the United Sutes. It is 
estimated that between three and ten 
million Americans have used other psy- 
i liedelic subsunces, such as marijuana, 
1 evote, mescaline. But then there are 
the followers of other chemical yogas. 
Think of the millions the many million^ 
-oi .\mericans who rely upon tranqufl-, 
i.ers to guide them through the perilous 
journey of each day of life. Think of the 
millions and millions of Americans who 
use energizers and pep pills. Think of 
the close to one hundred million Ameri-- 
i.iiis who use our favorite psycho-chemi- alcohol, and those who are addicted 
to nicotine. Think, too, of that small 
h;indful of perhaps one hundred thou- 
Miid people who escape from the turmoil 
nd pain of life with the opiates the 
i-troin addicu. 

As we move into thfe psycho-chemical 
age of man, we have to recognize at the _- 
outset that things are out of control. Life 
refers to "The exploding threat of thf 
mind drug that got out of control." And 
they are right! 

None of us know what we are doiag 
with the chemicals that we put in our 
lx-)dy to change our consciousness: to con- \ 
tract our consciousness; to expand ourf 
awareness; to move us faster or slbww^ 
through the sequences of behavior wfak^ 
we follow every day. ' 

There is much talk abqwt danger. Tlib 5 

at Town HH.N York CMy 

c*MMuttta4 m 

"The Politics and Ethics of Ecstasy" speech at New 
York's Town Hall was published in Cavalier {My 1966). 

The Fifth FreedomThe Right to Get High [ 65 

Naive questions, which fail to appreciate the necessary ten- 
sion of the expansion-contraction play. Membrane contracts. 
Life force bursts membrane. Establishment controls vision. Vi- 
sion bursts establishment. Let go. Pull back. 

The expansion process in physics and biology is described in 
evolutionary terms. Let go. 

The expansion process in human affairs is defined in terms of 
the word "freedom." Let go. 

We measure social evolution in terms of increased freedom- 
external or internal. Freedom to step out of the tribal game and 
move to construct a new social form. Freedom to move in space. 
Freedom to experience. Freedom to explore. Freedom to get 
high. Freedom to let go. 

The Hippy vs. Square Quarrel Is a Bore 

Society needs conscientious, dogmatic priest-scholars to provide 
structure the intellectual muscle, bone and skin to keep things 
together. The university is the establishment's apparatus for 
training consciousness contractors. The intellectual ministry of 
defense. Defense against vision. This statement is not pejorative 
but a fact about evolutionary function. We need stability. But 
we need expansion, too. We need the far-out visionary as well as 
the up-tight academic council which sits in learned judgment 
on Socrates, Galileo, Bacon, Columbus, Thoreau. The protago- 
nists in these dramas are neither good nor evil. No villains, no 
heroes. They just are. What will be the next step in biological 
and social evolution? Here are two clues. (1) You are more 
likely to find the evolutionary agents closer to jail than to the 
professor's chair. (2) Look to that social freedom most abused, 
most magically, irrationally feared by society. Exactly that free- 
dom which you, the intellectual, the liberal, would deny to 
others. Good. Now you are getting close. 

The administration always recognizes intuitively the next 
evolutionary step that will leave it behind. To cast this drama 
in terms of saints and Pharisees is entertaining, but outmoded- 

The drama is genetic. Neurophysiological. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 66 

So spare us, please, the adolescent heroics of Beethoven and 

The Next Lunge Forward 

Where, then, will the next evolutionary step occur? Within the 
human cortex. We know, yes we know, that science has pro- 
duced methods for dramatically altering and expanding human 
awareness and potentialities. The uncharted realm lies behind 
your own forehead. Internal geography. Internal politics. In- 
ternal control. Internal freedom. 

The nervous system can be changed, integrated, recircuited, 
expanded in its function. These possibilities naturally threaten 
every branch of the establishment. The dangers of external 
change appear to frighten us less than the peril of internal 
change. LSD is more frightening than the bomb! 

We are, in a real sense, prisoners of the cognitive concepts 
and intellectual strategies which are passed on from generation 
to generation. The cognitive continuity of history. And the stuff 
of it is words. Our current reliance upon substantive and "clos- 
ing-off" concepts will be the amused wonder of coming genera- 
tions. We must entertain nonverbal methods of communication 
if we are to free our nervous system from the tyranny of the 
stifling simplicity of words. 

Cortical Vitamins 

Biochemical methods of increasing cortical efficiency. Biochemi- 
cals in the human body, in plants, and in drugs. There exist in 
nature hundreds of botanical species with psychedelic ("mind- 
opening") powers. There exists around the indole circle a wide 
variety of psychedelic compounds. Cortical vitamins. 

The existence of these substances has been known for thou- 
sands of years but has been maintained as a well-guarded secret. 
The scarcity of botanical supply. Today the mind-opening sub- 
stances (e.g., mescaline, LSD, psilocybin) are available for the 

The Fifth Freedom The Right to Get High [ 67 

first time in limitless, mass-produced quantities. What a threat! 
What a challenge I What a widespread menace! 

The danger, of course, is not physical. As of 1968 there was 
no evidence that LSD causes pathological changes in the brain, 
the body, or the genetic material. The anti-LSD warnings of 
American scientists are out-and-out hoax. Government science, 
like Hitler's race experiments and Soviet genetics. 

Turn On or Bail Out 

The danger of LSD is not physical or psychological, but social- 
political. Make no mistake: the eflFect of consciousness-expand- 
ing drugs will be to transform our concepts of human nature, 
human potentialities, existence. The game is about to be 
changed, ladies and gentlemen. Man is about to make use of 
that fabulous electrical network he carries around in his skull. 
Present social establishments had better be prepared for the 
change. Our favorite concepts are standing in the way of a flood 
tide 2 billion years building up. The verbal dam is collapsing. 
Head for the hills, or prepare your intellectual craft to flow 
with the current. 

The Visionary Automobile 

Let's try a metaphor. The social situation in respect to psyche- 
delic drugs is very similar to that faced 60 years ago by those 
crackpot visionaries who were playing around with the horseless 
carriage. Of course the automobile is external child's play com- 
pared to the unleashing of cortical energy, but the social di- 
lemma is similar. 

The claim was made in 1900 that the motor carriage, accel- 
erated to speeds several times that of the horse-drawn vehicle, 
would revolutionize society. Impossible to conceptualize be- 
cause in 1900 we possessed no concepts for these possibilities. 
First of all, we object to the dangers: high speeds will snap 
nervous minds, gas fumes are fatal, the noise will prevent cows 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 68 

from giving milk, horses will run away, criminals will exploit 
the automobile. 

Then the puritanical objection: people will use cars for 
pleasure, for kicks. 

Then we question the utility: what can we do with speedy 
carriages? There are no men to repair them. There are no roads, 
few bridges. There are no skilled operators. The supply of fuel 
is small. Who will sell you gas? 

Then we raise the problem of control: who should be allowed 
to own and operate these powerful and dangerous instruments? 
Perhaps they should be restricted to the government elite, to 
the military, to the medical profession. 

But why do we want cars, anyway? What is wrong with the 
good old buggy? What will happen to coachmen, blacksmiths, 
carriage makers? 

The automotive visionary of 1900 could have pointed out 
that his skeptical opponent had no concepts, no social structures 
to implement these possibilities. Remember, if one talks about 
experiences and prospects for which the listener has no con- 
cepts, then he is defined (at best) as a mystic. Our automotive 
mystic sixty years ago would have asserted the need for a new 
language, new social forms, and would have predicted that our 
largest national industry would inevitably develop out of this 

Can you imagine a language without such words as converti- 
ble, tudor sedan. General Motors, U.A.W., Standard Oil, super- 
highway, parking ticket, traffic court? These most commonplace 
terms in our present culture were mystical images three genera- 
tions ago. 

Who Controls the Instruments of Freedom? 

In totalitarian states the use and control of instruments for 
external freedom the automobile, the private airplane are 
reserved for the government bureaucracy and the professional 
elite. Even in democracies the traditional means for expanding 
or contracting consciousness (internal freedom) , such as the 

The Fifth Freedom The Right to Get High [ 69 

printing press, radio transmitter, motion picture, are restricted 
by law and remain under government control. 

Now consider psychedelic drugs. No language to describe the 
experience. No trained operators to guide the trip. Lots of 
blacksmiths whose monopoly is threatened. A few people who 
do see an inevitable development of a new language, a trans- 
figuration of every one of our social forms. And these few, of 
course, the ones who have taken the internal voyage. 

It is possible that in 20 years our psychological and expe- 
riential language (pitifully small in English) will have mul- 
tiplied to cover realms of experience and forms of thinking now 
unknown. In 20 years every social institution will have been 
transformed by the new insights provided by consciousness-ex- 
panding experiences. Many new social institutions will have 
developed to handle the expressions of the potentiated nervous 

The Fifth Freedom 

The political issue involves control: "automobile" means that 
the free citizen moves his own car in external space. Internal 
automobile. Auto-administration. The freedom and control of 
one's experiential machinery. Licensing will be necessary. You 
must be trained to operate. You must demonstrate your pro- 
ficiency to handle consciousness-expanding drugs without dan- 
ger to yourself or the public. The fifth freedom the freedom to 
expand your own consciousness cannot be denied without due 

A final hint to those who have ears to hear. The open cortex 
produces an ecstatic state. The nervous system operating free of 
learned abstraction is a completely adequate, completely effi- 
cient, ecstatic organ. To deny this is to rank man's learned con- 
cepts above 2 billion years' endowment. An irreverent act. 
Trust your inherent machinery. Be entertained by the social 
game you play. Remember, man's natural state is ecstatic won- 
der, ecstatic intuition, ecstatic, accurate movement. Don't settle 
for less. 


Ecstasy Attacked 
Ecstasy Defended* 

A Dastardly Attack on Ecstasy 

In the September 1963 issue of Esquire, an article entitled 
"Getting Alienated with the Right Crowd at Harvard" carried 
a vigorous attack on ex-Harvard teachers Dr. Richard Alpert 
and Dr. Timothy Leary and the International Federation for 
Internal Freedom (IFIF) . The author, Martin Mayer, leveled 
the following charges: 

1. Leary and Alpert are like "laxative salesmen" 

2. Leary and Alpert are "promoting drug 


3. Leary and Alpert have formed "a drug cult" 

4. Leary and Alpert promote "the symptoms of 


5. Leary and Alpert promote "pathologies" 

6. Leary and Alpert promote "brain damage by 


7. Leary and Alpert promote "brains damaged 

by the surgeon's 

8. Leary and Alpert are "promoting drug 


An abridged version of this chapter was published in Esquire, November 
1963. Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert helped with it. 









Alpert, LEARY, and Metzner Experiment 
with L.S.D. at Harvard 


dbucct) datectiiem byllim ency 

Front cover of Art Klep's satire on three leaders of the 
Psychedelic Movement (1964). 







"Psychedelic Sessions" Flyer announcing Leary and 
Metzner's Psychedelic Sessions (1965-66). 

Ecstasy Attacked Ecstasy Defended [ 71 

9. Leary and Alpert are forming a "drug cult" 

10. Leary and Alpert are fostering "pathologies" 

11. Leary and Alpert are promoting a "drug-induced 


12. Leary and Alpert are claiming the. . . ."universal failure 

of psychologists" 

13. Leary and Alpert are having "a whale of a time" 

14. Leary and Alpert are causing "a terrifyingly 

bad time" 

15. Leary and Alpert's experiments are "utterly valueless" 

16. Leary and Alpert are "experimenters 

. . . who . . . 
got hooked on 

17. Leary and Alpert are promoting "hallucination" 

18. Leary and Alpert are promoting a "deathlike state" 

19. Leary and Alpert were "AWOL from 


20. Leary and Alpert are encouraging "popular miscon- 

ceptions about 

21. Leary and Alpert are the "despair of . . . 

their . . . 

22. Leary and Alpert's "neighbors . . . 

have . . . gone 
to court to get 
rid of them" 

23. Leary and Alpert adopt an "apparent intellec- 

tual respectability" 

24. Leary and Alpert live in a "spiritual Disney- 


25. Leary and Alpert opened "a psilocybin dram 


26. Leary and Alpert will get the "boom lowered on 


The Politics of Ecstasy [ 72 

27. Leary and Alpert are like "fanatic 


28. Leary and Alpert are like "overexuberant 

Catholic converts" 

29. Leary and Alpert advocate the "unrestrained 

civilian use of 

30. Leary and Alpert are "very casual" 

31. Leary and Alpert suffer from "delusions of 


32. Leary and Alpert gave their "reluctant pledge 

not to use under- 

33. Leary and Alpert are "socially with- 


34. Leary and Alpert are "insensitive" 

35. Leary and Alpert are "impulsive" 

36. Leary and Alpert have an "unrealistic sense of 


37. Leary and Alpert are "psychosis 


38. Leary and Alpert are "immoral" 

39. Leary and Alpert "seem likely to 

wind up in places 
where they can be 
closely observed" 

40. Leary and Alpert "can turn them- 

selves on at will" 

41. Leary and Alpert deny that "psilocybin may do 




42. Leary and Alpert fail to realize that LSD "may be more 

dangerous than the 
more obviously 
addicting drugs" 

Ecstasy Attacked Ecstasy Defended [ 73 

43. Leary and Alpert argue "that man can be- 

come truly free 
only by handing 
over his cortex to a 
drug company" 

44. Leary and Alpert are "promoting mind- 

distorting drugs" 

45. Leary and Alpert encourage people to 

play "Russian roulette" 

46. Leary and Alpert demonstrate that. . . ."if you take drugs, 

you are in no 
condition to judge 

47. Leary and Alpert act like "holy rollers" 

48. Leary and Alpert have become "extremely 


49. Leary and Alpert have become "conspiratorial" 

50. Leary and Alpert "deny relevance to 

all who do not 
share the faith" 

51. Leary and Alpert insist that non-drug 

takers "are damned" 

52. Leary and Alpert have developed a "capacity for 


53. Leary and Alpert are "rivals for title of 

world's worst 

54. Leary and Alpert are "astonishingly 


55. Leary and Alpert "destroyed their 


56. Leary and Alpert "will end up like 

group (s) who had 
police clubs 
bounced off their 
heads to chase 
them out" 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 74 

This multicount indictment was apparently based on an 
interview with Professor David McClelland, chairman of Har- 
vard's department of social relations. Professor McClelland is a 
sincere, honorable man not ordinarily given to slandering and 
abusing his friends and his intellectual rivals in the popular 
press. The customary outlets for scientific and scholarly differ- 
ences of opinion are professional journals, whose rules of evi- 
dence and reliance on empirical data are generally adhered to. 
Professor McClelland has indicated that he regrets this inter- 
view and the malicious twist it was given by Martin Mayer. 

Cause for Alarm? 

Mr. Martin Mayer is alarmed. Maybe he should be. These are 
scary times. The dangers and potentials of man's increasing 
ability to release and use external energy, electronic-atomic, are 
familiar to us all. But the fact that we now possess (in the drugs 
LSD, psilocybin and mescaline) simple and sure means of dras- 
tically altering man's internal situation, of releasing powerful 
neurological energy, is even more awesome. 

Blow the Eight Million Minds of New York City 

And changing man's consciousness is exactly what can now be 
done. The only aspect of the LSD controversy about which all 
parties do agree is that the new consciousness-expanding drugs 
are powerful. A standard "dose" of LSD is one hundred mil- 
lionths of a gram. One pound of LSD could therefore blow the 
minds of the entire population of New York City. 

Because of the importance of the issue, it is certainly valuable 
to have critical appraisals of what scientists are doing with these 
extraordinary mind-changing chemicals. Martin Mayer's article, 
if nothing else, is useful testimony that partisanship on these 
matters can become "furious" and ''irrational" and "flamboy- 
ant," to use three of his favorite epithets. But such an extreme 
presentation as Mr. Mayer's should be in the form of a dialogue. 
It would be unfortunate if Esquire readers were not acquainted 

Ecstasy Attacked Ecstasy Defended [ 75 

with the evidence and the opinions of that sizable group of 
scientists, scholars, religious leaders who have been led to differ- 
ent conclusions. 

Who Are We? 

Rather than litigate the more than 50 libelous and defamatory 
implications of the McClelland-Mayer story one by one, we 
prefer to present a list of statistics and quotations from pub- 
lished scientific documents which may explain why we happily 
left Harvard and why over 200 scientists and scholars are risking 
professional ostracism in order to continue research on the 
nonpsychiatric implications of consciousness-expanding foods 
and drugs. 

We Are Industrious and Very Respectable 

First of all, what is IFIF? IFIF is the independent research 
foundation started when Alpert and I left Harvard in 1963. 
The group who selected this wry double conditional for their 
title is composed of over 1,000 respectable Americans, mostly 
psychologists, ministers, academics, creative artists who want to 
conduct research in the potentialities of their own nervous sys- 
tems by means of psychedelic foods and drugs. There are more 
than 200 doctors of psychology and medicine among the mem- 
bers. Mr. Mayer suggests that our group is in danger of "wind- 
ing up in places where they will be closely observed." He need 
not worry. The first board of directors of IFIF consisted of 5 
Harvard psychologists, a Harvard psychopharmacologist, 3 doc- 
tors of philosophy with additional theological degrees, and a 
professor at a well-known theological seminary. The scientific 
and scholarly output of this group is well recognized in the 
academic community. They have published dozens of books and 
well over a hundred articles in psychological and philosophical 
journals. Of the original IFIF board 6 have received Harvard 
doctorates, 2 have doctorates from Berkeley, 1 from Stanford, 
and the 10th, a doctorate of divinity. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 76 

What Have We Been Doing? 

The stated purpose of IFIF was **to encourage support and 
protect research on psychedelic substances . . . and to take re- 
sponsibility for serious studies in this area." To implement 
these goals, IFIF formed a number of research groups and 
projects all over the country which were ready to embark on 
systematic studies of consciousness expansion (until the federal 
government banned the drug) . We started and have main- 
tained for four years the only scholarly-scientific journal in the 
field the Psychedelic Review, Experimental transcendental 
communities were established in Mexico, in Massachusetts and 
in Millbrook, New York, to apply psychedelic experiences to 
new forms of social living. New methods for recording and 
charting experiences of altered consciousness have been de- 

We have used every form of communication to turn on the 
American people to the love-joy within. We have made movies, 
cut records, chattered and chanted on TV, rapped on the radio, 
preached, done vaudeville routines, published prayer books, 
manuals, scientific articles. We have taught those who would 
listen what we have learned about ecstatic methods incense, 
candles, flowers, bells, beads, yoga, meditation, Sufi dancing, 
shrines in the home, kinetic multichannel art, Hesse, Tolkein, 
Bosch, acid-rock, Hinduism, mantras, mudras, Tantra, psyche- 
delic mating, leaving the city, avoiding plastic, walking barefoot 
and laughing-eyed, chanting love-seed delight. 

While several million Americans listened to our message, the 
people who run the spaceship have cried with one swelling 
metal voice ecstasy is bad, ecstasy is escape, ecstasy is dangerous I 


The Ancient Struggle of the IVIetal fAen against 
the Flower People 

History may provide one answer. R. Gordon Wasson, a retired 
vice-president of Morgan Guaranty Trust and himself a Har- 

Ecstasy Attacked Ecstasy Defended [ 77 

vard research fellow, has marshaled considerable evidence indi- 
cating that the persecution of mind-expanding foods and drugs 
is not new but indeed began when the first Europeans came to 
the New World. Three hallucinogenic plants were used by the 
Indians of Mexico before the conquest: peyote, the sacred 
mushroom, and ololiuqui. Mr. Wasson refers to "the impor- 
tance . . . attributed to these plants, and the strangely moving 
episodes that . . . tell of the Indians' utter faith and defense of 
them. . . . The civilization of Europe had known nothing like 
these novel drugs of Mexico, at least not in recorded history. 
Similar miraculous powers were attributed in a way to the ele- 
ments in the mass; and the Catholic Church . , . was quick to 
perceive this, to it, alarming parallel. But belief in the divinity 
of the Sacrament called for an act of faith, whereas the Mexican 
plants spoke for themselves. In a number of situations the 
record is clear: the friars conceded the miracle wrought by these 
agents but attributed them to the machinations of the Evil 
One." Fear and smear of psychedelic drugs is far from new. 

In speaking of the hallucinogenic morning glory seeds known 
as ololiuqui, Wasson says, "Throughout these references of the 
Spanish historians there runs a note of somber poignancy as we 
see two cultures in a duel to the death, on the one hand, the 
fanaticism of sincere Churchmen, hotly pursuing with the sup- 
port of the harsh secular arm what they considered a supersti- 
tion and an idolatry; on the other, the tenacity and wile of the 
Indians defending their cherished ololiuqui." 

The active ingredients of the three plants which Wasson 
describes in these passages have now been synthesized by chem- 
ists and called mescaline (peyote) , psilocybin (the sacred mush- 
room) , and LSD (ololiuqui) . It is these three drugs which have 
stirred up the current verbal and legal debate. 

Prohibition Is Superstitious 

Now listen to the modern voice of Alan Watts, distinguished 
philosopher and onetime Harvard research associate, speaking 
of the same three drugs: "The grounds for any possible suppres- 
sion of these medicines are almost entirely superstitious. There 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 78 

is no evidence for their being as deleterious as alcohol or to- 
bacco, nor, indeed, for their being harmful in any way except 
when used in improper circumstances, or perhaps with psy- 
chotic subjects. They are considerably less dangerous than many 
of the ordinary contents of the family medicine cupboard or 
kitchen closet. As instruments of power and inquiry they do not 
even begin to be as risky as X rays, and as threats to mental 
health they can hardly match the daily drivel assailing our 
thoughts through radio, television, and the newspaper." 

No critic of LSD journalistic or psychiatric has yet cited a 
convincing statistic or made reference to a published scientific 
study demonstrating danger, and yet the hysteria over these 
drugs mounts and the "harsh secular arm'* of the government 
and the medical associations cracks down.* The Medical Tri- 
bune, in an editorial on March 18, 1963, reported that these 
drugs *'have been demonstrated to be physically safe," and then 
on June 17, 1963, reliable sources told the Medical Tribune 
that '^district branches of the American Psychiatric Association 
are seriously contemplating disciplinary action against certain 
of their members who had developed large 'LSD practices.* " 

The Trip Can Take You Anywhere 

One reason for the struggle over the interpretation and use of 
these drugs is the wide variation in their eiBEect. Chemicals like 
LSD cause no specific response beyond their general tendency 
to speed up and drastically expand awareness. The specific effect 
is almost entirely due to the preparations for the session and the 
surroundings the set and the setting. In this respect, the per- 
son's reaction to his initial LSD session is much like his first 
reaction to his first sexual experience. If he is psychologically 
prepared and if the setting is voluntary and pleasant, then a 
whole new world of experience opens up. But if the initial 

* These lines were written on July 1, 1968. The government has paid for, 
promoted and widely publicized three or four anti-LSD experiments (sub- 
sequently disproved) and then openly claimed credit for "scaring" young people 
away from the sacrament. Deliberate hoax. 

Ecstasy Attacked Ecstasy Defended [ 79 

experience occurs with inadequate preparation or fearful ex- 
pectation and if the experience is involuntary and the setting 
impersonal, then a most distasteful reaction is inevitable. Psy- 
chiatrists have regularly given LSD to research subjects in cir- 
cumstances where they did not know what was going to happen 
(double-blind experimentation) and where the surroundings 
were bleak, clinical, public, and anxiety-provoking. Such a 
procedure, even in the guise of science, is nothing short of psy- 
chological rape, and it is exactly this sort of impersonal lab- 
oratory experimentation which has given LSD a bad name in 
medical circles. 

So much for the so-called dangers. What of the benefits and 
applications? Dr. Sanford M. Unger, a government research 
psychologist, has written a review entitled "Mescaline, LSD, 
Psilocybin, and the Issue of Rapid Personality Change." Doctor 
Unger is witty, skeptical, but thorough. He has prepared an 
annotated bibliography of 52 psychiatric studies which docu- 
ment the curative powers of these drugs. Let us take a brief look 
at some of the areas in which LSD has been found to be of 

1. Alcoholics. Several independent studies in Canada have 
found that 50 to 60 percent of alcoholics given one session with 
LSD stay "dry" for follow-up periods from 6 months to 1 year. 
In 1961 LSD treatment was designated as the officially recog- 
nized method for curing alcoholism in the province of Sas- 
katchewan and was considered "no longer experimental." 

2. Neurotics. Savage reports that of 96 patients who had 
undergone one intense, well-prepared LSD session, 85 percent 
claimed lasting benefit; 78 percent felt it was "the greatest thing 
that ever happened to me." The reported benefits included 
"ability to love, to handle hostility, to communicate, greater 
understanding, improved relations with others, decreased anx- 
iety, increased self-esteem, increased effectiveness in work, and 
a new way of looking at the world. . . . The data would seem 
to indicate that the felt benefits tend to become apparent some 
time after the LSD experience and to be sustained fairly well 
over at least the first year following." 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 80 

3. Criminals. Leary, in a study of convicts at a Massachusetts 
state prison, reports that inmates in the treatment program 
which used psilocybin increased in "responsibility" and "self- 
control" and decreased in "psychopathy" compared to a control 
group who had not received the drug. The psilocybin group 
also had a recidivism rate that was lower by 23 percent than the 
normally expected rate, which is over 50 percent. 

4. Disturbed Adolescents. Kenneth Cameron has reported on 
the successful use of LSD with several disturbed adolescents 
with whom all other forms of treatment had failed. 

5. Childhood Schizophrenics. Lauretta Bender, director of 
research and child psychiatry for the New York State Depart- 
ment of Mental Hygiene, has reported at a recent meeting that 
in three groups of autistic and schizophrenic children, LSD had 
produced "behavior changes without any of the acute psychotic 
symptoms observed in adults." 

6. Terminal Cancer Patients. In a study with 50 advanced- 
cancer patients, Dr. Eric Kast of the Chicago Medical School has 
shown that small doses of LSD relieved pain for 32 hours, com- 
pared to the 2 or 3 hours' analgesia with traditional pain-killers. 
"The emotions invested in the sickness are temporarily diverted 
in otherworldly * or 'transcendental' directions. The patients 
minimize the sense of impending disaster with an effect inap- 
propriate to our Western civilization, but most beneficial to 
their own psychic states." 

Thus there seems little doubt that LSD and other psychedel- 
ics have proven useful enough in a large variety of personal dis- 
turbances to at least warrant further unprejudiced research. Of 
course, the efficacy of LSD has not been established by the most 
rigorous scientific standards; but for that matter, neither has the 
efficacy of any other form of psychological treatment been so 
established. There has never been, in the history of medicine, a 
method applicable to so many conditions, from alcoholism to 
cancer, which is so rapid and effective in such minute doses. 

What about the effects of LSD on "normal" people? In 4 
separate studies by different investigators comprising more than 
400 subjects, LSD and psilocybin produced experience of last- 

Ecstasy Attacked Ecstasy Defended [ 81 

ing benefit or change in 64 percent of the subjects and "a. 
pleasant experience" in 73 percent of the subjects.* An average 
of 80 percent wanted to repeat the experience. Is it not strange 
that an experience which is regarded with such fear and distrust 
by those who have not had it is so highly regarded by those who 

It Makes You Feel So Good 

The evidence that LSD produces rapid, even sudden, cures for 
emotional disorders is threatening enough. Next comes the evi- 
dence that the process could be enjoyable, even ecstatic. That 
something which is "good for you" can also be pleasant is per- 
haps the most fearful pill of all for a puritan culture to swallow. 

In a study by Savage, 85 percent reported "a very pleasant 
experience" and 81 percent "an experience of great beauty." 
Exactly two-thirds of Janiger's subjects claim "a very pleasant 
experience"; 70 percent of subjects in a study by Leary describe 
"wonderful, ecstatic or very pleasant" reactions. 

"I cried for joy," says psychologist Wilson Van Deusen about 
his LSD session. "I will have enjoyed more living in the latter 
part of my life than most people ever know," says Gary Grant in 
summarizing his LSD results. "A possession by the spirit of 
wholeness," says philosopher Gerald Heard. "A repeated flow of 
beauty to heightened beauty from deeper to ever deeper mean- 
ing. Words like 'grace' and 'transfiguration' came to my mind," 
writes Aldous Huxley. "Extraordinary joy overcame me ... a 
strong and beautiful feeling of eternity and infinity," chronicles 
Beringer, the famous Heidelberg neurologist. "A New Artificial 
Paradise," and "A Divine Plant" were the titles of papers by 
Havelock Ellis describing his mescal experiences. 

Now such words as joy, ecstasy, grace, beauty, just don't exist 
in the psychiatric vocabulary. The poor psychiatrist has been 
given the sad task of looking for pathology. He's happiest when 
he's found problems and is usually bewildered when he comes 

Psychedelic Review, No. 1. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 82 

face-to-face with the more meaningful experiences of life. This 
dilemma is nicely illustrated in a wistful comment by a well- 
known psychiatrist in the 1955 round table on LSD and mesca- 
line sponsored by the American Psychiatric Association: "I 
should like to confess that my experience with mescaline was an 
exceedingly pleasant one. I found myself in my enthusiasm 
using words like 'mystical' and 'ecstatic,' until I found my col- 
leagues raising their eyebrows at this, and looking at me 
askance; after which I simply described it as Very pleasant.' '* 

LSD Turns You On to God 

That LSD produces ecstasy and sudden cure was probably 
reason enough for its being banned in America, but there was 
news ahead which increased the medical opposition. Evidence 
started turning up that psychedelic drugs produced religious 
experiences. HorrorsI In the study by Savage, 90 percent of 
subjects claimed "a greater awareness of God or a higher 
power." Studies published by Leary revealed that over two- 
thirds of a sample of 67 ministers, monks, and rabbis reported 
the deepest spiritual experience of their lives. And in a double- 
blind, controlled study run on Good Friday, 1963, in the 
Boston University Chapel, 9 out of 10 divinity students shak- 
ingly recounted awesome mystical-religious experiences, and 2 
of them promptly quit the ministry! "The drugs make an end 
run around Christ and go straight to the Holy Spirit," was the 
paradoxical comment of Theodore Gill, president of San Fran- 
cisco's Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The words of Wil- 
liam James, generally held to be the greatest psychologist Amer- 
ica has ever produced, were remembered: "Looking back on my 
experiences [with nitrous oxide] they all converge toward an 
insight to which I cannot help ascribing some metaphysical 

According to Time magazine, "Clerics . . . charge that LSD 
zealots have become a clique of modern gnostics concerned only 
with furthering their private search for what they call 'inner 
freedom.' Others feel that the church should not quickly dismiss 

Ecstasy Attacked Ecstasy Defended [ 83 

anything that has the power to deepen faith. Dr. W. T. Stace of 
Princeton, one of the nation's foremost students of mysticism, 
believes that LSD can change lives for the better. 'The fact that 
the experience was induced by drugs has no bearing on its 
validity,' he says." 

Police Clubs Bouncing Off Our Heads 

At this point we remember Mr. Wasson's poignant account of 
the religious struggle between the Indians (who called the 
Mexican mushroom "God's flesh") and the agents of the Span- 
ish Inquisition. Esquire's Martin Mayer may have been saying 
more than he wished to reveal when he compared IFIF to a 
group of heretical Catholic converts, to fundamentalist Protes- 
tants, and to Christian Scientists in a context insulting to all 
three religious groups. Mr. Mayer predicted that IFIF will end 
up like Catholic converts with "police clubs bouncing off their 
heads"; he may be telling us less about LSD than about the 
state of his own intolerance for any heretical deviation from his 
favored orthodoxies. 

We Want to Have Fun and Be Good Scientists, Too 

Professor McClelland and Mr. Mayer make a great point of 
saying that IFIF is no longer a scientific group. The term 
"science" has apparently become a sacred term forbidden to 
innovating theorists and methodologists. It is true that we have 
often dispensed with the rituals of modern psychology. This is 
not because of naivet^ or carelessness but from a thoughtful 
reconsideration of the philosophy of behavior and conscious- 
ness. Again, the popular press is not the place to discuss schol- 
arly differences. Interested readers can find our criticisms and 
constructive alternatives in the scientific literature, consisting of 
new methods, forms, instruments and hypotheses designed and 
used by IFIF experimenters. 

The accusation is also made that IFIF is anti-intellectual. It is 
true that we are most dissatisfied with the intellectual narrow- 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 84 

ness and naivete of much of modern psychology and that we 
have taken as our central task the production of more effective 
and sophisticated concepts. We are indeed trying most energeti- 
cally to outmode current theories of human nature as fast as we 
can. We do not see this as either rebellion or heresy but rather 
as the traditional goal of the intellectual-scientific game. We 
also believe that all human activities, including the scientific, 
are funny. 

Have You or Haven't You? That Is the Question 

The debate over psychedelic drugs invariably breaks down into 
two groups: those that have had the experience versus those that 
have not. As R. Gordon Wasson has pointed out with gentle 
sarcasm, "We are all divided into two classes: those who have 
taken the mushroom and are disqualified by the subjective ex- 
perience, and those who have not taken the mushroom and are 
disqualified by their total ignorance of the subject." Or as 
comedian Dave Gardner puts it, "How are you gonna explain 
anything to anyone who hasn't ever?" 

But we seem to need more than the inexperience-experience 
difference or our American puritanical heritage to explain why 
the "moral, religious, social" applications of psychedelic drugs 
can be experienced so freely and humorously in other countries 
and why such research is shut down in America with the un- 
documented cries of "morbidity," "mortality," "danger," "im- 

Get Your Sterile, Surgical Rubber Gloves Off My Soul, 
Doctor Farnsworth 

The political role of medicine and psychiatry may have some- 
thing to do with this difference. In other countries, physicians 
and psychiatrists are respected and well-paid members of the 
professional class. That and nothing more. In the United States 
these disciplines aspire to and lobby for a position of political 
and moral monopoly which is beyond criticism or debate. Dr. 
Dana Farnsworth, our psychiatric rival at Harvard, in his anti- 

Ecstasy Attacked Ecstasy Defended [ 85 

LSD editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Associa- 
tion is bold enough to make this astounding statement: "The 
ingestion or injection or inhalation of any agent taken or given 
to alter a person's usual mental and emotional equilibrium 
must be looked upon as a medical procedure. These agents 
should, therefore, be under medical control. . . ." Snuff out 
your cigarette, boy, and forget your before-dinner martini, and 
throw out your wife's perfume bottle. Ladies and gentlemen, 
you've just lost a freedom you never realized you had to protect 
the right to taste, smell, breathe or otherwise introduce into 
your own body anything which will change your mind or your 
mood. When we talk about "internal freedom" and "the poli- 
tics of the nervous system," we are foreseeing and forewarning 
about invasions of personal liberty which no longer date to the 
brave new world of 1984. Our debate with psychiatrists about 
the use and control of psychedelic drugs involves the right, right 
now, of thoughtful Americans to change their own con- 

Training for Ecstasy 

A final clarification. Mr. Mayer and others have accused us of 
advocating indiscriminate availability and use of consciousness- 
expanding drugs. The facts are exactly to the contrary. IFIF has 
been more outspoken than any other group in the country in 
advocating the need for experience and training in the use of 
these extraordinarily powerful tools. The experience, however, 
must come from the drug itself, and the training must be spe- 
cialized. No present medical or psychological degree qualifies 
for the job. A medical degree doesn't equip one to pilot a jet 
plane or to understand the incredible complexities of conscious- 
ness. The LSD experience is so novel and so powerful that the 
more you think you know about the mind, the more astounded 
and even frightened you'll be when your consciousness starts to 
flip you out of your mind. A new profession of psychedelic 
guides will inevitably develop to supervise these experiences. 
The training for this new profession will aim at producing the 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 86 

patience of a first-grade teacher, the humility and wisdom of a 
Hindu guru, the loving dedication of a minister-priest, the 
sensitivity of a poet, and the imagination of a science fiction 

Do You or Don't You? 

The debate could and inevitably will be continued in the 
press, in the scholarly journals, in conversations and within 
people's minds. Sooner or later everyone will have to answer for 
himself the simple basic question, do you or don't you? Do you 
want to turn on or don't you? Do you want to expand your 
awareness or not? Transcendence becoming aware of a reality 
which lies outside of time, space and the beloved ego has been 
a basic privilege and goal of man since earliest times. In our 
present age, writes Carl G. Jung in his autobiography, "man has 
been robbed of transcendence by the shortsightedness of the 
super-intellectual." A large number of serious and responsible 
citizens, along with a million or so young people, believe and 
have stated that transcendence can be brought about by the 
psychedelic chemicals, given suitable preparation and an ap- 
propriate setting. 

But such a view has too many far-reaching consequences to be 
accepted on the basis of verbal debate. Each man must experi- 
ence it for himself. 

This article is unlikely to convince anyone or change any- 
one's opinion. If it will make some readers of Esquire aware 
that a different view is possible than the one expressed in Mr. 
Mayer's article, our purpose will have been accomplished. Let 
us recall to mind the words Hermann Hesse, the Nobel Prize 
novelist and philosopher, wrote in Siddhartha: 

Words do not express thoughts very well; everything im- 
mediately becomes a little different, a little distorted, a little 
foolish. And yet it is also pleasing and seems right that what is 
of value and wisdom to one man seems nonsense to another. 

Peace, Mr. Martin Mayer. 


Chemical Warfare The Alcoholics 
vs. the Psychedelics 

Marijuana alters consciousness. 

LSD alters consciousness. 

On that they all agree. 

Policeman. Priest. Pusher. Politician. Prophet. Pharmacolo- 
gist. Psychologist. Policeman. 

They all agree that marijuana and LSD turn us on. 

But how? 

And to what end evil or beneficial? 

To these questions there is no agreement. 

Sincere, well-intentioned men are led to extreme positions. 
On the one hand punitive laws, repressive crusades, police ac- 
tion, the arming of agents of Health, Education and Welfare, 
the lengthy imprisonment of citizens for no other crime than 
the altering of their own consciousness. 

According to Life magazine, "One of the stifiFest and most 
inflexible set of laws ever put to the federal books, the Boggs- 
Daniel Act (1956) represents the high-water mark of punitive 
legislation against the use, sale and handling of drugs. It im- 
posed severe mandatory sentences for sale or possession per- 
mitting in most cases neither probation nor parole. . . . 

**In some states, such as New York, sentencing is fairly le- 
nient. Mere possession (25 or more marijuana cigarettes . . .) 
carries sentence of only (sic) three to ten years." 

San Francisco magazine reports, "In today's afiiuent society 


The Politics of Ecstasy [88 

the use of marijuana is no longer confined to the 'dregs' of 
society. It is becoming increasingly fashionable with middle and 
upper-class youth. California jails now hold close to 6,000 peo- 
ple for breaking marijuana laws. Sixty-four percent of all Cali- 
fornians arrested on marijuana charges are under twenty-five 
years of age. Arrests for breaking marijuana laws . . . since 
1962 . . . have increased nearly 500 percent." 

On the other hand passive resistance, poetic and artistic and 
scientific appeals to reason, futile protests, flights into exile, 

"Dr. S. J. Holmes, director of the narcotics addiction unit of 
the Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Research Foundation in 
Toronto . . . believes it is 'fantastic and ridiculous' that a 
person caught with one marijuana cigarette can be sent to 

"It is particularly ridiculous, he said, when compared with 
the use and effect of alcohol. 'This situation is really a disgrace 
to our civilization and merits much consideration.' 

"The preliminary estimates of a foundation-financed study 
on drug use at San Francisco State show that 60 percent of the 
students will at some time use an illegal drug. . . . 
' "Marijuana is sold on the campus, smoked on the campus, 
and used by professors. 

"A Berkeley sorority girl said, 'When you drink you lose con- 
trol and sensitivity, generally feeling and acting like a slobber- 
ing idiot. This never happens with pot. 

"Most spoke of the legal problems, as did this girl: 'It doesn't 
bother me to break the law. How many times do you break it 
jaywalking and so on? The main thing is that I just don't think 
of using marijuana in these terms. It's pure hypocrisy and 
stupidity that it's not legal. The law is wrong for both practical 
and moral reasons." 

Cheetah magazine, December 1967, reports that one outlaw 
LSD manufacturer alone had released 10 million doses. 

A UPI wire story from Washington, December 28, 1967, 
presents an interesting sidelight on "how we won the war in 

Chemical Warfare The Alcoholics vs. the Psychedelics [ 89 

"John Steinbeck IV, son of the Nobel Prize-winning author, 
said Wednesday that 75 percent of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam 
smoke marijuana. But the Defense Department said the figure 
was 'beyond all reason.* 

"Steinbeck, twenty-one, who spent a year in Vietnam with 
the Army, said use of the drug did not seriously affect a soldier's 
fighting ability, but made the horrors of combat easier to 

"The Army is investigating marijuana use in Vietnam but 
has not commented on the results of its study, although it has 
been reported that the Army found that 83 percent of its troops 
use the drug." 

There are many dimensions to the psychedelic drug contro- 
versy and no simple answers. I wish to consider in this essay 
three issues the political, the moral, and the scientific. 

Who Is Fighting Whom and Why? 

To understand the psychedelic controversy, it is necessary to 
study the sociology of psychedelic drugs. Who wants to get high? 
Who wants to smoke marijuana? To eat peyote? To ingest LSD? 
What people comprise this new drug menace? 

The young 

The racially and nationally alienated 

The creative 

Over 90 percent of the users of psychedelic plants and drugs 
fall into at least one of these three categories. 

The Young Want to Turn On 

Over 50 percent of the American population is under the age of 
twenty-five. Ominous, isn't it? From 50 to 70 percent of the 
usage of marijuana and LSD is by the high school and college 
age group. Around 70 percent of the arrests and imprisonments 
for possession of psychedelic substances fall on the shoulders of 
those under the age of thirty. The whiskey-drinking meno- 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 90 

pausal imprison the pot-smoking youth. Meditate on this sit- 

The Racially and Nationally Alienated Like to 
Turn On 

Negroes, Puerto Ricans, American Indians. The usage of the 
psychedelic plants marijuana and peyote in these noble minor- 
ity groups of the American society is high. The whiskey-drink- 
ing, white middle class imprisons those with different cultural 
and religious preferences. Meditate on this situation. 

The Creative Have to Turn On 

It is conservative to estimate that over 70 percent of non- 
academic creative artists have used psychedelic substances in 
their work. 

Painters. Poets. Musicians. Dancers. Actors. Directors. Beatle- 
brows. The whiskey-drinking middlebrows imprison the grow- 
ing edge. Meditate on this situation. 

The Criminal and Psychedelic Drugs 

The stereotyped picture of the marijuana smoker is that of a 
criminal type. The statistics do not support this myth. Mari- 
juana is used by groups which are socially alienated from 
middle-aged values youth, Negroes, Indians, creative artists 
but few criminals. Alcohol is the drug of the middle-aged white 
criminal. The larcenous and the violent. Safecrackers and Ma- 
rines. The economics of heroin leads the addict to steal. Few 
professional criminals smoke pot. Few pot smokers are criminals 
(except for the offense of changing their consciousness) . 

The Psychedelic Majority Group 

The number of pot smokers worldwide is larger than the popu- 
lation of the United States of America! It is safe to say that there 
are more pot smokers than there are members of the middle 

Chemical Warfare ^The Alcoholics vs. the Psychedellcs [ 91 

class throughout the world! Indeed, we have the astonishing 
spectacle of a small, menopausal, middle-class minority, tolerant 
to alcohol and addicted to external power, passing laws against 
and interfering with the social-religious rituals of a sizable and 
growing majority! Meditate on that one. 

In this country the number of persons who have used mari- 
juana, peyote, and LSD is estimated to be over 20 million. 
Remember the Indians, Negroes, the young, the creative. We 
deal here with one of the largest persecuted groups in the 
country. Until recently this sizable group has been nonvocal. 
Effectively prevented from presenting its case. Essentially 
stripped of its constitutional rights. 

Another crucial sociological issue which is easily overlooked 
psychedelic people tend to be socially passive. The psychedelic 
experience is by nature private, sensual, spiritual, internal, 
introspective. Whereas alcohol and amphetamines stimulate 
the efferent nervous system, inciting furious game activities, the 
psychedelics stimulate the afferent nervous centers. Contempla- 
tion. Meditation. Sensual openness. Artistic and religious pre- 

Excesses of passive contemplation are little better than ex- 
cesses of action but certainly no worse. God and the DNA code 
designed men to have interoceptive and exteroceptive neuro- 
logical systems, and any harmonious view of man should allow 
for judicious and thoughtful balancing of both. 

Throughout world history the psychedelic people have not 
tended to form commissions to stamp out nonpsychedelic peo- 
ple. Nor do they pass laws against or imprison nonpsychedeli- 
cists. Pot smokers don't throw whiskey drinkers in jail. 

The Molecular Revolution 

Politically oriented activists have throughout history left the 
psychedelic minority pretty much alone. The power holders 
have been too busy fighting each other to worry about those 
who prefer to live in quiet harmony and creative quietude. 
It is harder work to contact and control your nervous system 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 92 

than the external symbol structure. Yogis, bhikkus, meditators, 
Sufis, monks, shamen, hashish mystics have been too busy decod- 
ing and appreciating their afferent (sensory) and cellular com- 
munication systems to busy themselves with political struggles. 

But now comes the molecular revolution. The work of James 
McConnell demonstrates that learning is molecular. Dumb 
flatworms eat smart flatworms and become smart. Holger Hy- 
den discovers that the brain cells of educated rats contain a 
third more RNA than those of uneducated rats. University of 
California psychologists pass on learning from one rat to an- 
other by injecting RNA from trained rats. 

Neurologists are "wiring up" the brains of animals and men 
and altering consciousness by pressing buttons. Press a button- 
make him hungry. Press a button make him horny. Press a 
button make him angry. Press a button make him happy. 

The psychedelic chemicals flood out of the laboratories. Into 
the hands of the two familiar groups: those who want to do 
something to others for power and control; those who want to 
do something to themselves for fun and love. 

U.S. Army psychologists secretly drop LSD into the coffee of 
an infantry platoon. The surprised soldiers giggle, break ranks 
and wander off, looking at the trees. Psychiatrists secretly drop 
LSD into the water glasses of psychotic patients and report that 
LSD enhances insanity! 

And on the college campuses and in the art centers of the 
country, hundreds of thousands of the creative young take LSD 
and millions smoke marijuana to explore their own conscious- 
ness. The new cult of visionaries. They turn on, tune in, and 
often drop out. 

Laws are passed encouraging the administration of LSD to 
the unsuspecting (patients, soldiers, research subjects) and pre- 
venting self-administrationl 

The Two Commandments of the Molecular Age 

Of the many powerful energies now suddenly available to man, 
the most challenging and sobering are those which alter the 

Chemical Warfare ^The Alcoholics vs. the Psychedelics [ 93 

fabric of thought and judgment the very core of meaning and 

Learning, memory, mood, judgment, identity, consciousness 
can now, today, be instantaneously transformed by electrical 
and chemical stimuli. 

In the long-short diary of our species, no issue has passed such 
a promise-peril. 

The history of human evolution (not unlike that of every 
other species of life on our planet) is the record of new forms of 
energy physical, mechanical, chemical discovered, slowly un- 
derstood and misunderstood, painfully debated, eventually 
adapted to. 

Today the human race is confronted with new energies which 
tax our wisdom, confuse our judgment, terrorize our emotional 
securities, excite our highest aspirations and threaten to alter 
our central notions of man and his place on this planet. 

Never has man faced ethical and political issues so complex, 
so delicate, so demanding, so frightening. 

Never has man been in greater need of ethical guidance. 

And where is it? 

Our scientists plunge enthusiastically into the process of con- 
sciousness alteration, with little apparent regard for the moral 
and political complications. 

One of the few men who have recognized the high stakes of 
this new game of cerebral roulette is David Krech, psychologist 
at Berkeley. 

Doctor Krech is quoted as saying: "Until recently, these sub- 
stances were considered science fiction, but real science has been 
moving forward so rapidly in this area that science fiction is 
hard put to keep up with it. About fifteen years ago, I doubt 
whether I could have found more than a half dozen laboratories 
in the entire world which were concerned with basic research in 
behavior, brain and biochemistry. Today there hardly exists a 
major laboratory where such research is not being given high 

"If we should find effective mind-control agents," he says, 
"we must consider whether the manufacture and dispensing of 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 94 

such agents should be left to private enterprise, or to military 
control, or to political control. And how should this be done, 
and when, and by whom? It is not too early for us to ponder 
very seriously the awesome implications of what brain research 
may discover." 

The time has come for a new ethical code to deal with issues 
unforeseen (or were they, really?) by our earlier prophets and 

Although the social-political implications are hopelessly com- 
plicated, the moral issues are clear-cut, precisely pure. And if 
the moral center of gravity is maintained, the endless chain of 
political and administrative decisions can be dealt with confi- 
dently and serenely. 

Two new ethical commandments are necessary as man moves 
into the molecular age. Compared to these imperatives, the 
codes of earlier prophets seem like game rules codes for social 
harmony. The new commandments are neurological and bio- 
chemical in essence and therefore, I suspect, in closer harmony 
with the laws of cellular wisdom, the law of the DN A code. 

I did not invent these commandments. They are the result of 
several hundred psychedelic sessions. They are revealed to me 
by my nervous system, by ancient cellular counsel. I give them 
to you as revelation. I ask you not to take them on faith but to 
check them out with your own nervous system. I urge you to 
memorize these two commandments. Meditate on them. Pin the 
next page to your wall. I urge you to take 300 gamma of LSD 
and present these commandments to your symbol-free nervous 
system. The future of our species depends upon your under- 
standing of and obedience to these two natural laws. Ask your 
nervous system. Ask your DNA code. 


I Thou shalt not alter the consciousness 
of thy fellow man. 

II Thou shalt not prevent thy fellow man 
from altering his own consciousness. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 96 

Commentary on the Two Commandments 

Thousands of theological, philosophical and legal texts will be 
written in the next few decades interpreting, qualifying, speci- 
fying these two commandments. I happily leave this chore to 
those who face the implementation of this code. But a few 
general comments may be helpful. 

1. These commandments are not new. They are specifica- 
tions of the first Mosaic law that man shall not act as God to 
others. Be God yourself, if you can, but do not impose your 
divinity on others. They are also specifications of the two Chris- 
tian commandments thou shalt love God and thy fellow man. 

2. There are several obvious qualifications of the first com- 
mandment. Do not alter the consciousness of your fellow man 
by symbolic, electrical, chemical, molecular means. If he wants 
you to? Yes. You can help him alter his own consciousness. Or 
you can get his conscious, alerted permission to alter his con- 
sciousnessfor him in the direction he wants, etc. 

3. There are several obvious qualifications of the second 
commandment. The First Amendment constrains us from pre- 
venting our fellow man from altering his consciousness by 
means of symbols. This is the familiar "freedom of expression'* 
issue. But now we must not prevent our fellow man from alter- 
ing his own consciousness by chemical, electrical or molecular 
means. These are new freedoms which the wise men who wrote 
the American Constitution and the Rights of Man did not 
anticipate, but which they certainly would have included if they 
had known. 

4. Can you prevent your fellow man from altering his con- 
sciousness if he thereby poses a threat to others or to the har- 
monious development of society? Yes. But be careful. You walk 
near a precarious precipice. Whenever society restricts the free- 
dom of the human being to alter his own consciousness (by 
means of symbols or chemicals) , the burden of proof as to 
danger to others must be on society. We can prevent others 

Chemical Warfare ^The Alcoholics vs. the Psychedellcs [ 97 

from doing things which restrict our consciousness but the 
justification must be clear. 

The Scientific Approach to Psychedelic Chemicals 

The political and ethical controversies over psychedelic plants 
are caused by our basic ignorance about what these substances 

They alter consciousness. 

But how, where, why, what for? 

Questions about psychedelic drugs remain unanswered be- 
cause our basic questions about consciousness remain unan- 

As we learn more about the biochemistry and physiology of 
consciousness, then we will understand the specific effects and 
uses of consciousness-altering plants. 

But external, look-at-it-from-the-outside science is not 
enough. Biochemistry and neurology will soon unravel some of 
the riddles of molecular learning and RNA^ education. Bless- 
ings on James McConnell and David Krech and Holger Hy- 
den. But then what? Who shall use the new magic molecules? 
Who shall control them? The routine scientoid solutions are: 
*'Inject them in the stupid, inject them in the crazy, inject them 
into Army privates, inject them in the senile and eventually, 
when they are safe enough to prevent lawsuits, sell them to the 
docile middle class." 

But wait a minute, dear scientoids. We can't do that anymore. 
Remember? We are not dealing with molecules that blow up 
the enemy or eradicate insects or cure headaches or produce the 
mild stupor of alcohol or tranquilize the active. We are dealing 

1 Within the nucleus of every living cell lies a tiny, complex chain of protein 
molecules called the DNA code. DNA is the brain of the cell, the timeless blue- 
printing code which designs every aspect of life. DNA executes its plans by 
means of RNA molecules. RNA is the communication system, the language, the 
senses and hands of the DNA. The language of RNA can be passed from one 
organism to another. The discovery of this fact is revolutionizing our theories 
of memory, learning, consciousness, and education. The basic unit of learning 
is molecular. The basic unit of consciousness is molecular. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 98 

with agents that change consciousness. And we have a new 
commandment to obey. Remember? "Thou shalt not alter the 
consciousness of thy fellow man." 

And if society attempts to control the new molecules, then we 
have the black market problem all over again. You remember 
the LSD situation? The scientoid plan was to research LSD 
quietly in mental hospitals and Army bases, double-blindly 
drugging the unsuspecting. But the word got out "LSD pro- 
duces ecstasy. LSD helps you see through the game veil." And 
the revolution began. The upper-middle-class underground. 
The white collar black market. 

And then the laws and the penalties and the arming of agents 
of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to hunt 
down the psychedelic people. 

Any officer or employee of the department . . . may 
L carry firearms 

2. execute and serve search warrants 

3. execute seizure 

4. make arrests without warrants 

(Drug Abuse Control Amendments of 1965) 

And next come the "smart pills." Will the same cycle of 
dreary platitudes and bureaucratic hysteria take place again? 






"Did you hear? There's a new shipment of black market 
Einstein, A. A., in the Village!" 

"I'm giving my wife some Elizabeth Taylor nucleic acid for 

Chemical Warfare ^The Alcoholics vs. the Psychedellcs [ 99 

Christmas. Smuggled in from Mexico. We can all afford to learn 
new methods, right?'* 

"I know it's against the law, but Willy is five years old and 
can't work quantum-theory equations. So, in despair, I've con- 
nected with some Max Planck RNA." 

NEW YORK, APRIL 1, 1969, A.P.I 

The newly organized microbiological unit of the Health, 
Education and Welfare Department, armed with paralysis spray 
guns and electron microscopes, raided an RNA den last night. 
Over one hundred million grams of amino acid were seized. 
Agents estimated that the haul was worth close to $800,000. 
Held on charges of being present on premises where illegal 
drugs were seized were a poet, a philosopher, and two college- 
age girls. HEW agents tentatively labeled the contraband mole- 
cules as Shakespeare RNA, Socrates RNA and Helen of Troy 

R. Wilheim Phlymption, president of the American Psychi- 
atric Association, Amino Acid Division, when notified of the 
raid, said: "Amino acids RNA and DNA are dangerous sub- 
stances causing illegitimacy, suicide and irresponsible sexuality. 
They should be administered only by psychiatrists in govern- 
ment hospitals or Army research stations." 

The four alleged drug cultists who were held on $25,000 bail 
smiled enigmatically but made no comment. 

These headlines won't happen, will they? They can't happen, 
because now we have the two commandments for the molecular 

The scientist must be prevented from experimenting on the 
brains of other people. 

*'Thou shalt not alter the consciousness of thy fellow man." 

Congressmen, policemen, judges, and secret agents of the 
Department of Health, Education and Welfare must lay down 
their arms. Remember the second commandment: 

"Thou shalt not prevent thy fellow man from altering his 
own consciousness." 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ lOO 

Now that chemists have produced psychedelic chemicals and 
biochemists are isolating the powers of RNA, it comes time to 
face the real scientific issue. 

The Scientist IMust Talce ttie Drug Himself 

Consciousness and alteration of consciousness cannot be studied 
from the standpoint of external science, from the standpoint of 
look-at-it-from-the-outside science. 

Not only does this violate the first commandment, it just 
doesn't work. 

The meaning and use of psychedelic chemicals LSD, STP, 
MDA, PCP, smart pills, RNA depends on the scientist's taking 
the molecules himself, opening up his own consciousness, alter- 
ing his own nervous system. Only in this way will we develop 
the maps, models, languages, techniques for utilizing the new 
mind-changing procedures. 

You can't use these internal microscopes by clapping them 
over the eyes of unsuspecting mental patients and Army pri- 
vates. The scientist has to look through them. 

The mind-altering chemicals lysergic acid, amino acids- 
have to be studied from within. The scientist has to take the 
love pill and the smart pill. 

Oh, yes, you can observe their effects from outside, but this 
tells you very little. You can "sacrifice" the animals and discover 
brain changes. You can drug mental defectives and psychotics 
and seniles and terminal patients and observe gross behavior 
changes, but these are the irrelevant husks. Consciousness must 
be studied from within. Each psychedelic chemical opens a 
complex energy language which must be deciphered with exact- 
ing discipline and code-breaking ingenuity. 

The molecular psychologist must decipher these languages. 
Eventually everyone will learn them. This is not a new idea. 
This is the core idea of all Eastern psychology. Buddhism, for 
example, is not a religion. It is a complex system of psychology, 
a series of languages and methods for decoding levels of con- 

Chemical Warfare The Alcoholics vs. the Psychedelics [ 101 

And this is the original method of Western scientific psychol- 
ogythe trained introspection of Wundt, Weber, Fechner, 
Titchener. The scientist must learn the language of the sensory 
neuron and cell and teach it to others. 

The typical scientist recoils from this suggestion. It's a tough 
assignment, isn't it? No more dosing up the passive subjects. 
You J the scientist, must inhale, swallow, inject the magic mole- 
cule yourself. You train others to do the same. 

The Courage to Know 


Yes, it is frightening. And this defines the first criterion of the 
scientist of consciousness. He must have courage. He must em- 
bark on a course of planfully and deliberately going out of his 
mind. This is no field for the faint of heart. You are venturing 
out (like the Portuguese sailors, like the astronauts) on the 
uncharted margins. But be reassured it's an old human custom. 
It's an old living-organism custom. We're here today because 
certain adventurous proteins, certain far-out experimenting 
cells, certain hippy amphibia, certain brave men pushed out 
and exposed themselves to new forms of energy. 

Where do you get this courage? 

It isn't taught in graduate school or medical school or law 
school. It doesn't come by arming government agents. 

It comes from faith. 

Faith in your nervous system. 

Faith in your body. 

Faith in your cells. 

Faith in the life process. 

Faith in the molecular energies released by psychedelic 

Not blind faith. 

Not faith in human social forms. 

But conscious faith in the harmony and wisdom of nature. 

Faith easily checked out empirically. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [102 

Take LSD and see. Listen to what your nervous system and 
your cells tell you. 

Take marijuana and learn what your sense organs can tell 

Take RNA and learn how the molecular learning process 

Trust your body and its reaction to the complex messages of 
the psychedelic drugs. 







tllVIVERai'TY BOOIC8 '^S^^ New Hyde Park, New York 

The Psychedelic Experience, a guide based on the 
Tibetan Book of the Dead, was published in 1967. 

"The Magical Mystery Tour" appeared in an anthology of 
writings about the Beatles published in 1968. 


The Magical Mystery Trip 

For the last few years, America has been on a Magical Mystery 
Trip, planned and guided by Englishmen. 

they've been going in and out of fash, but they're guaran- 
teed TO BE A SMASH. 

Everything harmonious and graceful in the electronic psy- 
chedelic revolution of the 1960's has come from the venerable 
East-Anglia Import-Export Company. The eye-land empire. 

The English have seed style. The polished performance based 
on the rich racial myth. A hip DNA root structure that enables 
them instinctively to deal with the pulsing energies of our 
time electronics and psychedelics. 


/ was talking recently to a member of one of America's top 
acid-rock bands, who had just returned from England. 

''Hey, man, the English run a tight scene. Too literary." 

''Too literary?" 

"Yeah, man. Always analyzing and rapping about books. 
They even do the same thing with grass. The head trip." 

"Well, I think that's great of Britain. The trouble with our 
hippies is, they aren't connected. Rootless. Turned on, but not 
tuned in. The acidheads would move further if they hooked up 
with their past. You know, the psychedelic experience has been 
around for a few thousand years before Haight-Ashbury. And 

[ 103 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 104 

the English are the original hippies. They've been writing about 
it for three hundred years.'* 

*'Noj man, that history thing isn't where it's at. It's a hang-up. 
Freak out! That's the boss trip. Blow your mind. Fowl Zap! . . ." 

It's a curious fact that the American psychedelic movement is 
almost completely a British import. LSD. Pounds, shillings and 


Consider the lineage. The key architect of the revolution is a 
British psychiatrist named Humphrey Osmond. Who? He in- 
vented the term psychedelic. Humphrey? He turned on Aldous 
Huxley and Gerald Heard. Doctor Osmond? Along with Abram 
Hofer (a brilliant Canadian neurologist) , he first demonstrated 
the benefits of LSD with hopeless alcoholics. Humphrey Os- 
mond? He published the first papers suggesting that psychedelic 
drugs could produce a transcendental experience. 

Doctor Humphrey Osmond is indeed a quiet, wise, compas- 
sionate Englishman. A humorous, thoughtful, scholarly scien- 
tist. A head of his time. Shrewd. Historical-political overview. 
Broad philosophic perspective on events about which American 
psychiatrists don't have a clue. 

In 20 years of furious fulmination, America has yet to pro- 
duce a psychiatrist who can say, with Osmond, "Calm down, it's 
been happening for millennia and it's inevitable and it's all 
right. Read your Jung, young man." 

And thank you, Evans- Wentz and Arthur Waley, for Aldous 
Huxley. Aldous had been rummaging diligently for some 40 
years through biology, physics, literature, philosophy, Vedanta, 
looking myopically through his magnifying glass for that cen- 
tral key-code that had gotten misplaced, and then Humphrey 
Osmond turned him on with mescaline and ushered him 
through the doors of perception, and Aldous laughed and ex- 
ulted for the remaining years of his new life, chuckling about 
gratuitous grace. 

And on the morning of November 22, 1963 (the last, dark 
day of our young President, himself a head) , when Aldous Hux- 
ley heard the Tibetan whisper from his tissues that his time had 

The Magical Mystery Trip [ 105 

come, O nobly born, to seek new levels of reality, your ego and 
the Aldous Huxley game are about to cease, he wrote on a piece 
of paper "LSD" and spent the last eight hours of his life on the 
eternal high wire, dying, smiling, just as he had described the 
smiling death of the old grandmother on his Utopian Island. 

And thank you, William Blake and A. A. Orage, for Alan 
Watts, mischievous Zen master, lyric Anglican priest (high 
church) , source, inspiration and guide (although most of them 
don't know it) for San Francisco's flower children. Alan Watts 
lives on a retired ferryboat in Sauselito, a French Riviera fishing 
village across the bay from San Francisco. His looking-glass 
walls open out on a front lawn of shimmering water splashed by 
sea gull wings. From this undulating beach headquarters Alan 
Watts, Lord High Admiral of the Beat, has been teaching hip 
Zen, square Zen, Kyoto turn-on methods to a generation of 
Americans, and when acid hit San Francisco it was no acid-ent 
that it had a sweet Eastern flavor because Alan had been ex- 
plaining Watts what. 

There is, of course, high church psychedelic and low church. 

Ken Kesey's acid-test-rock-and-roU-on-the-floor-freak-out is 
low church psychedelic, gutty, shouting, sawdust trail. Alan 
Watts is highest Anglican. Precise, ceremonial, serene, aesthetic, 
classic, aristocratic with a wink. The ancient rituals executed 
perfectly with a quiet twinkle in the eye. My understanding of 
marijuana and LSD is mainly due to my listening to and watch- 
ing Alan. 

Professional English isle watchers groan and demur when I 
praise the British cool. They cite grim horror stories of insular 
smugness. But can you imagine an American Senator or Cabi- 
net member going to a scientific congress and talking about 
getting high like Christopher Mayhew, Member of Parliament 
and Her Majesty's First Lord of the Admiralty? 

'7 took the drug/' said Cabinet member Christopher May- 
hew to the assembled scientists, ^'because I am the old school 
friend of Doctor X [Humphrey Osmond]. He said he was 
coming over to England, and could I recommend him for a 
BBC Third Programme broadcast to describe his research work? 
I said, 'Don't go on sound radio. No one listens to that. Explain 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 106 

about hallucinogens on television and give this stuff to me right 
in front of a film camera/ 

*'And the BBC quite rightly thought this a first-class idea for 
a program, and so did Doctor X. And he came down to my 
home in Surrey and in front of a film camera gave me, I think it 
would he four hundred milligrams of mescaline hydrochloride, 
sitting in my own armchair at home. Those are the circum- 
stances of the experiment.'* 

Oh, you say that Mr. Christ-hearer Mayhew is one eccentric 
Englishman, hut he was not alone. In the same scientific psy- 
chedelic conference another Memher of Parliament, the Hon- 
orahle Donald Johnston, descrihes his psychedelic highs as 
"transcendental states; they put you in contact with some force 
or power with which you are normally out of contact in your 
everyday life. . . . Reverting finally to the * significance of 
these states,' in my case not only did this curious state seem 
significant hut it was significant, hecause the whole trend of my 
life did happen to alter. There is only one way in which a 
politician's trend of life can alter, and that is according to 
whether you lose elections or whether you win elections; and 
whereupon prior to this event [his psychedelic drug experi- 
ence^ ten years ago, I had spent my life losing every parlia- 
mentary election I fought, I have heen fortunate enough to win 
elections since then. Otherwise I would not he claiming col- 
leagueship with Christopher Mayhew. 

"And I say now, even after five and a half years, that this was 
the most interesting and thought-provoking thing I have ever 
experienced in my life. And I say this even today, when the 
emotion, the vividness, has all worn off and only a kind of intel- 
lectual conviction remains. Not only winning elections hut 
winning very close elections. Yes, this is something for you 
ladies and gentlemen to think ahout." 

there's a fog upon new DELHI WHEN MY FRIENDS LEAVE PSY- 

O.K. Can you imagine an American Senator, let's say Mr. 
Fulbright of Arkansas or Mr. Charles Percy of Illinois, attribut- 

The Magical Mystery Trip [ 107 

ing his election not to the wisdom of his voting constituents but 
to his having turned on? 

Oh, but you say, that was in the 1950's, before the generals 
discovered that turned-on flower people won't go to war. To- 
day, you say, no politician would dare defend LSD or that 
greater vegetable men-ace, marijuana. You are almost right. In 
China, ecstasy is treason. In Russia, pleasure is anti-Communist. 
In Scandinavia, turning on disturbs the smooth-blonde-butter- 
bacon-fat-hush of Socialism. To an African dictator who has just 
gotten his hands on whiskey and machine guns, getting high is a 
colonial conspiracy. Fierce Nasser fears the gentle hashish more 
than Israeli jets. Senator Fulbright, the great liberal, allows 
puritan Harry Anslinger, director of our narcotics pogrom, to 
PUSH an international treaty through the U.S. Congress which 
prevents America from legalizing marijuana. And only in Eng- 
land would the following parliamentary debate take place in 
the year of our stoned-out-laughing God 1967: 


Friday, 28th July 1967 


Mr. H. P. G. Channon (Southend West) : All sections of the 
House will agree that there is now abundant evidence that in 
the past few years there has been a vast increase in the use of 
drugs of all kinds in this country, and in particular by young 

No Honorable Member has not at some time taken a soft 
drug, which can be something as minor as caffeine or tea, and 
few have not taken alcohol or nicotine at some time. These are 
the soft drugs, which are not socially unacceptable in this 

The most difficult and controversial topic at the moment is 
the use of cannabis, or marijuana, by young people. This is 
where the law is most widely flouted. I would like the Honor- 
able Members to ask themselves, first, why these drugs are 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 108 

taken. In every generation there is a wish to rebel, first of all, 
against the standards of the previous generation. There is some- 
thing of that in the use of cannabis. Young people still have too 
little realization of the dangers of all drugs. I was glad to see 
that the Secretary of State for Education and Science is to 
launch a bigger program on that in schools. 


Above all, however, there is a feeling that those who are a 
little older are hypocritical, particularly about cannabis. Young 
people consider, rightly or wrongly, that they are persecuted for 
a harmless pleasure, while adults freely use nicotine, which 
probably leads to cancer, and alcohol, and we all know tragic 
cases of alcoholism. Young people also feel that it is hypocritical 
for the state to make vast sums of money, particularly out of 
tobacco, and that the state's moral values are wrong. I do not 
defend or condone this attitude, but it is understandable. 

The argument has come to a head in recent months because 
there is no doubt that the number of young people smoking 
cannabis has increased. It was also brought to a head by an 
advertisement in the Times this week in which it was alleged by 
many distinguished people, including medical people and the 
Beatles, that the law against cannabis at the moment is "im- 
moral in principle and unworkable in practice." 

they're leaving home, bye-bye. 

With the latter half of that statement I am beginning to 
agree. I think that the law is becoming increasingly unworkable 
in practice. I do not know whether the House realizes how 
many respectable young people indulge in the practice. I am 
not talking about the lower strata, the people who are so dis- 
tressed that they have no other form of relief than marijuana. I 
fear that there are large numbers of respectable people with 
good jobs, or students, who are taking the drugs, and they rep- 
resent an intelligent section of our society. For them repression 

The Magical Mystery Trip [ 109 

is not enough. They must be convinced as well as repressed, if 
repression is the right step. 


/ want to see the problem solved, because I am certain that 
young people will go on using the drug unless they can be 
convinced intellectually that it has the dangerous dangers which 
it is widely believed to possess. I am told that we have the 
mildest kind of marijuana in Britain and that there is a grave 
danger in the future that we shall have adulterated marijuana, 
maybe mixed with heroin or opium, if this situation is allowed 
to slide much longer. 


/ very much doubt whether the law is the best way to control 
human behavior of this kind. I believe that it must be inquired 
into, and I would see some advantages if it were possible to 
control this drug as alcohol is controlled with far stricter con- 
trol of those under eighteen who take the drug. There will have 
to be far stricter control, for example, of people who drive cars 
while under the influence of this drug. 

What alarms me about this, as with so many social problems, 
is that it has been creeping up on us for some time, almost 
unnoticed, until suddenly it has begun to snowball. The prob- 
lem has reached a crucial point. Many people talk about the 
generation gap. That has always existed. Nevertheless, there is 
something in that argument today. I am sure the gap between 
the generations is greater than it was ten years ago, because I 
find that so many young people suspect our generation of 

Mr. Tom Driberg {Barking : I shall speak only briefly, in 
order to allow my Honorable friend Minister of State to answer 
the debate and to any other Honorable Member who may wish 
to speak. The debate will have been of great use if it leads to the 
further research and action which the Honorable Member for 
Southend West [Mr. Channon] suggested, and I congratulate 
him on having raised this hotly topical subject. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [110 

He referred to the [legalize pot] advertisement in the Times 
of last Monday. I was one of the only two Members of this 
House who signed it and would not have done so if I had not 
been in general agreement with what was said. There have been 
criticisms of the advertisement in the Times, but I do not think 
that such people as Dr. Stafford-Clark, Dr. Antony Storr, and 
other doctors and scientists, including the two Nobel Prize win- 
ners, would have signed it if this had been a completely irre- 
sponsible thing to do. 

Mr. Marcus Lipton {Brixton) : The Honorable Member for 
Southend West [Mr. Channon] has served a very useful pur- 
pose in raising this difficult and topical subject today. I find 
myself in a large measure of agreement with the aims of this 
committee, about which the general public do not know very 
much. It should be given some advertisement. 

We should also like to know when this committee started to 
discuss the problem of cannabis, how often it meets and when it 
is likely to report. Who is sitting on it? Whose opinions are we 
asked to accept on this? It is a vitally important thing that 
whatever this committee reports should be accepted by the 
general public, particularly by the younger generation. It is no 
use using Victorian language hoping to convince the younger 


Miss Alice Bacon, Minister of State, Home Office: I have only 
a few minutes and cannot give way. 

Views have been given this morning about cannabis. It would 
be entirely mad for the government to relax the laws without 
more information to be obtained by the committee. It has been 
said in this morning's newspapers that in Birmingham a great 
many people who take heroin started with cannabis. Ninety- 
seven percent of the heroin addicts known to the Home Office 
have a previous history of cannabis taking. 

Mr. Drib erg: And of alcohol. 

Miss Bacon: The government would be mad, apart from the 

The Magical Mystery Trip [111 

international conventions of which we are a part, to relax these 

I believe that at the present time we are in danger in this 
country. I am not speaking only of cannabis but also of some 
other drugs which have been mentioned, particularly LSD of 
some people misleading young people by not only taking drugs 
themselves but trying to influence the minds of young people 
and encourage them to take drugs. I do not often read the 
Queen, but I was at the hairdresser's yesterday. [Honorable 
Members: "Hear, hear.''] This magazine was passed to me to 
while away the time when I was under the hair dryer. There is a 
very long article in it called "The Love Generation," with 
statements by various people who are pop singers and managers 
of pop singers. I was horrified at some of the things I read in it. 
For instance, Paul McCartney says, among other things: 

God is in everything. God is in the space between us. God is 
in that table in front of you. God is everything and everywhere 
and everyone. 

It just happens that I realized all this through acid [LSD], 
but it could have been done through anything. It really doesn't 
matter how I made it. . . . The final result is all that counts. 

Mr. Channon: Is the Honorable lady quoting prominent 
people in favor of drug taking? It is terribly dangerous to quote 
people like that when we are against drug taking. 

Mr. Driberg: He [Paul McCartney] is a very good man. 


Miss Bacon: I am illustrating the argument. The Honorable 
Member raised this question this morning and, running 
through his speech, I thought I detected a sort of feeling that we 
should relax on cannabis. Maybe I am wrong, but if he does not 
want any publicity to be given at all, this debate should not 
have taken place this morning. 

The manager of the Beatles said in this article that there is a 
new mood in the country and: 

The Politics of Ecstasy [112 

**This new mood has originated from hallucinatory drugs, 
and I am wholeheartedly on its side." 

This may sound amusing to Honorable Members, but young 
people take quite seriously what pop stars say. What sort of 
society will we create if everyone wants to escape from reality? 

Mr. Briber g: They want to escape from this horrible society 
we have created. 

Miss Bacon: Today there are those who see in society's atti- 
tude to drug taking the opportunity for questioning traditional 
values and self-judgments of all kinds and for advocating aims 
and conduct going far beyond the ** kicks'* and pleasures of a few 
pills. For them drug taking is a way the way of life to which 
they beckon the impressionable, the curious, the frustrated, and 
the demoralized. Insidiously or openly, wittingly or unwit- 
tingly, the young are being taught the paraphernalia of psyche- 
delic experience, and the catch phrases of drug cults. 


This seems to be the real challenge of soft drugs, and it is 
growing. The government believes that it is time for responsi- 
ble influences to check the trend. It is time to make clear that 
teen-age drug taking is ill-advised, if not dangerous to personal- 
ity and health. It is time to rebut the claim of those who profess 
to make mystics out of the immature. This is a challenge which 
all sections of society must take up. The government are re- 
solved to do their part. 

Thank you, Mr. Channon, Mr. Driberg and Mr. Lipton, for 
the light and humor in these gloomy times. May your constitu- 
ents reach voting age and continue to turn you on and turn 
your Honorable enemies out. 


And then there is Ronald Laing, turned-on, wry Scottish 

One day in 1964 I received a phone call from a British psy- 
chiatrist visiting New York. Mentioned Allen Ginsberg. 

The Magical Mystery Trip [ 113 

Wanted to come to visit. O.K. He'd arrive on the noon train 
tomorrow. Name of Ronald Laing. 

When he phoned from the train station, I groaned. Another 
dreary, platitudinous psychiatrist. He walked into the kitchen, 
and we stood looking at each other. He was solid brown tweed 
with a flicker of gold. 

We sat at the table, ate a sandwich, drank wine. I told him 
that medical-therapeutic talk about LSD was a fake. I was inter- 
ested only in the mystic aspects of the drug. 

His move. 

He said that the only doctor who could heal was the one who 
understood the shamanic, witchcraft mystery of medicine. 

Ronald Laing took off his coat and loosened his tie. 


After a bit he said he knew an interesting game. Did I want 
to play it? 

We took off our shoes and stood in the space between the 
kitchen sink and the table. 

The point of this game is to move your hands and your body 
without talking. 

We began to spar, karate style, moving in between each 
other's guard. 

Do we have to spar? 

A shrug. 

Our hands changed into a dance. Paired sculpturing of air, 
molded liquid forms, now moving slowly, then whirling. My 
eyes were riveted to his eyes. I was gone. Spun out of the 
kitchen at Millbrook, spun out of time. Stoned high in a Sufi 
ballet. We were two organisms from different planets com- 
municating. I was an Eskimo on an ice floe. He was a visiting 
explorer. We were exchanging the hard-core information about 
life, our tribe, the mystery. We were two animals of different 
species, of the same species, of the same litter, from separate 

We were sitting on the floor in the lotus position, arms, 
hands, weaving. The dialogue lasted for an hour Greenwich 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 114 

time. A dozen people had walked in, watched and left the 
kitchen. My son and some friends came home from school, 
glanced at the two seated forms, made lunch and left. "My dad 
and his friends are potty." 

We opened our eyes. It was dark. Time to catch the train 
back to New York. 

Six months later, in Alex Trocchi's London nerve-pulse heart 
chamber, people sitting around taking the Trocchi trip. Door 
opens. Ronnie Laing enters. Sits on mattress. Begins to de- 
scribe some Tantric sex rituals that an old schizophrenic patient- 
cum-guru had passed on to him. Soft Scot burr. Exquisite psy- 
chedelic poetry. He had all our heads in his graceful hands. 
Especially the women. 


You will not find on this planet a more fascinating man than 
Ronald Laing. A pontifex. A bridge builder between worlds. As 
a straight psychiatric researcher he casually turns out sophisti- 
cated, penetrating books about the social meaning of mental 
illness. Turns on that dreariest of professions with graceful 
strokes. An elegant hippy. Shrewd Eden-burg observations. Aca- 
demic poise. He is tuned in to Eastern philosophy, English 
poetry. Magister ludi. He weaves science-religion-art-experience 
into the slickest bead game of our time. 


Historical note: On December 31, 1600, Queen Elizabeth 
granted a charter to the English East India Company. The aim 
of the game was to bring back peppers and spices of the East. 
The fabled turn-on vegetables. This charter granted over 350 
years ago has had more effect on the psychedelic revolution of 
the 1960's than Sandoz Laboratories and its lysergic discoveries. 
Without the East India expedition LSD would be a pharmaco- 
logical curiosity. 

It happened like this. From 1600 to 1946 several hundred 

The Magical Mystery Trip [115 

thousand Englishmen soldiers, administrators, scholars took a 
trip to India. They went there to mind a colony, but many of 
them got their minds colonized by smiling Krishna, the aphro- 
disiac love god. The impact of a visit to India is psychedelic. 
You are flipped out of your space-time identity. Indian life un- 
folds before you a million-flowered-person-vine-serpent coil of 
life ancient, wrinkled, dancing, starving, laughing, sick, swarm- 
ing, inconceivable, unreasonable, mocking, singing-multi- 
headed, laughing God dance. 

And the English in India got turned on. Even today the 
tourist who strays from the deluxe plastic path and wanders into 
the villages will be offered bhang, charras, ganga, attar, some 
one of a thousand ways the Indians prepare hemp. 

OH, we've got all the gooroos an' we've got lovely taboos, 


I spent a winter once in a little hut near the Himalayan snow 
peaks. Before his weekly hike to the village to shop, my Moslem 
cook would ask, "Two attar?" and I'd nod and give him an 
extra dollar, and he'd come back with two sticks, as long as your 
little finger, of the best hashish that ever stoned out a Mongul 
emperor, and I'd give him one and he'd grin. It was rolled into 
a hard, resinous stick by hand and smoked by all the farmers, 
and you can bet that this little weekly ceremony me and my 
smiling cook had been acted out for 300 years by every Eng- 
lishman in India who had ears to listen and eyes to see what was 

And after you turn on with hashish you can tune in to the 
incredible sensuous hit of India and the myriad mystic mosaic 
of India, and you can read the Vedas and Vedantas in your own 
tissues and understand. 

Hundreds of thousands of Englishmen returned home to the 
island turned around by the Indian consciousness. Britannia 
ruled the plains, but India copped the rulers' brains. The intel- 
lectual fabric of England is indelibly imprinted with the un- 
dulating madras, paisley design. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [116 


And this accounts for the fact that English intellectuals never 
swallowed French rationalism, the bitter gaul of mind spinning 
out its chess moves to the inevitable end of the head-trip-exis- 
tential despair. Reason is absurd but energy-maya-prana con- 
sciousness is not absurd because it moves, merges, copulates, 
smiles, and lovingly swallows up the mind. Few French intellec- 
tuals grasped this and the few that did, like Ren6 Daumal and 
Baudelaire, were Sanskrit scholars and hashish heads. 

You recall that while Jules Verne was writing about clanking 
mechanical trips 1,000 leagues "down," H. G. Wells, a visionary 
Englishman, saw mind at the end of its tether and predicted 
quite accurately that mankind would mutate into two different 
species the gentle flower people living in the sun and the 
machine people living underground. 

And E. M. Forster made the passage to India, and Charles 
Dodgson tripped with mushroom-eating Alice, Jonathan Swift 
tripped with Gulliver, James Joyce tripped with Bloom and 
Earwicker, John Bunyan with the Christian Pilgrim, J. R. R. 
Tolkien with his elves, and how about Alistair Crowley and 
Conan Doyle. 

Britannia you are a nation of inveterate trippers, heads and 
stoned visionaries! 

It was unavoidable that the first great psychedelic novel 
would be written by someone with a name like John Fowles. 
The Magus. Not since I read Joyce's Ulysses in 1941 have I 
experienced that special epic-mystery excitement from a book. 
The Magus raises the basic ontological questions, confronts the 
ancient, divine mystery and backs away from the riddle with the 
exact balance of reverence and humor. At Millbrook we use 
The Magus as psychochemical litmus paper. Those readers who 
report boredom just haven't made our trip. 

And then come the Beatles, hoping to take us away. 

Obeisances and profound gratitude to you, inspired revealers 
of the great vibration. 

The Four Evangelists! 

The Magical Mystery Trip [ 117 

Are you meaning St. Paul and St. John and St. George? I 
mean now, thank all, the four of them and the roar of them that 
drays that stray in the mist, and old St. Ringo along with them. 
And George Martin. And the Rolling Stones. 

Rosemary and I spent the summer of '67 in a tepee on 
Ecstasy Hill in Millbrook, devoting an hour or two each day 
to getting high and listening to a portable record player spin 
the new testaments according to Sergeant Pepper and their 
Satanic Majesties. It's all there. 

How clever and unexpected and yet typical of God to send 
his message this time through the electric instruments of four 
men from Liverpool and the Holy Rollers. 


Beloved gurus of Liverpool, I'm four you. I've got nothing to 
say that you haven't said briefer, cleaner, stronger. 

It was as inevitable that George Harrison would go to India 
as it was that Elvis Presley would go to Hollywood and that 
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards would write in a prison cell 
holy hymns forgiving their jailers. 

To future social historians I humbly suggest that the spiritual 
cord that holds our civilization from suicide can be traced from 
the Himalayan forests where Vedic philosophers drank soma, 
down the Ganja, through the Suez by P. and O. and over to 

My fellow Americans, psychedelicists, hippies, flowerheads, 
monks, nuns, searchers, trippers, I humbly suggest that to find 
God we have to learn to speak English. Our DNA code seems 

This article is the first of a two-part series. In the second essay the author 
will demonstrate on the basis of philological, anthropological and historical evi- 
dence that the literary-spiritual soul of the English language is actually Celtic. 


She Comes in Colors' 

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in 1960, beside the swimming 
pool of his rented summer villa in Cuernavaca, a thirty-nine- 
year-old American ate a handful of odd-looking mushrooms 
he'd bought from the witch doctor of a nearby village. Within 
minutes, he recalled later, he felt himself ''being swept over the 
edge of a sensory Niagara into a maelstrom of transcendental 
visions and hallucinations. The next 5 hours could be described 
in many extravagant metaphors, but it was above all and with- 
out question the deepest religious experience of my life.'* The 
implications of that fateful first communion are as yet un- 
measured; that they are both far-reaching and profound, how- 
ever, is generally conceded for the fungi were the legendary 
''sacred mushrooms'' that have since become known, and feared 
by many, as one of the psychedelic (literally, mind-manifest- 
ing) chemicals that have created a national fad among the na- 
tion's young and a scandal in the press. The American was a 
Harvard psychotherapist named Timothy Leary, who has since 
found himself transmogrified from scientist and researcher into 

* Reprinted from the September 1966 issue of Playboy magazine. Copyright (c) 
1966 by HMH Publishing Company, Inc. If this interview had been conducted 
for Sports Illustrated, the conscientious interviewee would naturally consider the 
question. How LSD Can Raise Your Batting Average. Considerable thought 
was given to the title of this chapter. To reflect concisely the dilemma of the 
interviewee Paul Krassner suggested: "Collecting Orgasms for Fun and Profit." 
Michael Hollingshead contributed: "Commonsensual Advice for Serious Play- 
boys." Darlene chipped in with: "LSD for Bunnies and Playboys." The version 
selected (for the first edition) was offered by Rosemary Leary, with admiring 
thanks to the Rolling Stones. 

[ 118 

She Comes in Colors [ 119 

progenitor and high priest of a revolutionary movement 
spawned, not by an idea but by a substance that's been called 
"the spiritual equivalent of the hydrogen bomb." 

Few men, in their youth, would have seemed less likely to 
emerge as a religious leader, let alone as a rebel with a cause. At 
the age of nineteen, Leary distressed his Roman Catholic 
mother by abandoning Holy Cross two years before graduation 
{''the scholastic approach to religion didn't turn me on") , then 
affronted his father, a retired Army career officer, by walking out 
of West Point after 18 months ("my interests were philosophic 
rather than militaristic") . Not until he transferred to the Uni- 
versity of Alabama did he begin to settle down academically 
to work for his B.A. in psychology. On graduation in 1942 he 
enlisted as an Army psychologist, served in a Pennsylvania 
hospital until the end of the war, then resumed his schooling 
and earned his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berke- 
ley. Acquiring both eminence and enemies with his first major 
jobs as director of Oakland's progressive Kaiser Foundation 
Hospital and as an assistant professor at UC's School of Medi- 
cine in San Francisco Leary began to display the courage and 
sometimes rash iconoclasm that have since marked every phase 
of his checkered career. Contending that traditional psychiatric 
methods were hurting as many patients as they helped, he re- 
signed in 1938 and signed up as a lecturer on clinical psychol- 
ogy at Harvard. There he began to evolve and enunciate the 
theory of social interplay and personal behavior as so many 
stylized games, since popularized by Dr. Eric Berne in his best- 
selling book Games People Play, and to both preach and prac- 
tice the effective but unconventional new psychiatric research 
technique of sending his students to study emotional problems 
such as alcoholism where they germinate, rather than in the 
textbook or the laboratory. 

At the time, predictably enough, few of these novel notions 
went over very well with Leary's hidebound colleagues. But 
their rumblings of skepticism rose to a chorus of outrage when 
Leary returned to Harvard in 1960 from his pioneering voyage 
into inner space beside the swimming pool in Cuernavacato 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 120 

begin experimenting on himself, his associates and hundreds of 
volunteer subjects with measured doses of psilocybin, the chem- 
ical derivative of the sacred mushrooms. Vowing "to dedicate 
the rest of my life as a psychologist to the systematic exploration 
of this new instrument," he and his rapidly multiplying fol- 
lowers began to turn on with the other psychedelics: morning- 
glory seeds, nutmeg, marijuana, peyote, mescaline and a color- 
less, odorless, tasteless but incredibly potent laboratory com- 
pound called LSD 25, first synthesized in 1938 by a Swiss 
biochemist seeking a pain-killer for migraine headaches. A 
hundred times stronger than psilocybin, LSD sent its halluci- 
nated users on multihued, multileveled roller-coaster rides so 
spectacular that it soon became Leary's primary tool for re- 
search. And as word began to circulate about the fantastic, 
phantasmagorical "trips'* taken by his students, it soon became 
a clandestine campus kick and by 1962 had become an under- 
ground cult among the young avant-garde from London to Los 

By 1963 it had also become something of an embarrassment 
to Harvard, however, which "regretfully" dismissed Leary, and 
his colleague Dr. Richard Alpert in order to stem the rising tide 
of avid undergraduate interest in the drug. Undaunted, they 
organized a privately financed research group called the Inter- 
national Foundation for Internal Freedom (IFIF) , and set up a 
psychedelic study center in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, but before 
they could resume full-scale LSD sessions, the Mexican govern- 
ment stepped in, anticipating adverse popular reaction, and 
demanded that they leave the country. 

Leary had now become not only the messiah but the martyr 
of the psychedelic movement. But soon afterward came a dra- 
matic eleventh-hour reprieve from a young New York million- 
aire named William Hitchcock, a veteran LSD voyager who 
believed in the importance of Leary's work by now a mission 
and toward that end turned over to him a rambling mansion on 
his 4,000-acre estate in Millbrook, New York, which has since 
become not only Leary's home and headquarters but also a kind 
of shrine and sanctuary for psychedelic pilgrims from all over 

She Comes In Colors [ 121 

the world. On April 16, 1966, it also became a target for further 
harassment by what Leary calls "the forces of middle-aged, mid- 
dle-class authority/* Late that night, a squad of Dutchess County 
police descended on the place, searched it from top to bottom, 
found a minute quantity of marijuana, and arrested four people 
including Leary. If convicted, he could be fined heavily and 
sent to prison for 16 years. Already appealing another convic- 
tion, Lsary had been arrested in Laredo the previous December 
as he was about to enter Mexico for a vacation, when customs 
officials searched his car and found a half ounce of marijuana in 
the possession of his eighteen-year-old daughter. Despite his 
claim that the drug was for scientific and sacramental use in the 
furtherance of his work and his spiritual beliefs {as a practicing 
Hindu) , he was fined $30,000 and sentenced to 30 years in 
prison for transporting marijuana and failing to pay the federal 
marijuana tax. 

In the months since then, the LSD controversy has continued 
to escalate along with Leary's notoriety spurred by a spate of 
headline stories about psychedelic psychoses, dire warnings of 
'Hnstant insanity" from police and public health officials, and 
'pious editorials inveighing against the evils of the drug. In May 
and June, two Senate subcommittees conducted widely pub- 
licized public hearings on LSD, and three states California, 
Nevada and New Jersey enacted laws prohibiting its illicit use, 
possession, distribution or manufacture. With a ringing appeal 
for still more stringent legislation on a federal level, Ronald 
Reagan even dragged the issue into his successful campaign for 
the Republican gubernatorial nomination in California. 

It was amid this mounting outcry against the drug that Play- 
boy asked Dr. Leary to present his side of the psychedelic story 
and to answer a few pertinent questions about its putative 
promise and its alleged perils. Consenting readily, he invited us 
to visit him in Millbrook, where we found him a few days later 
reciting Hindu morning prayers with a group of guests in the 
kitchen of the 64-room mansion. He greeted us warmly and led 
the way to a third-floor library. Instead of sitting down in one of 
the room's well-worn easy chairs, he crossed the room, stepped 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 122 

out of an open window onto a tin roof over a second-floor bay 
window, and proceeded to stretch out on a double-width mat- 
tress a few feet from the edge. While we made ourself comfort- 
able at the other end of the mattress, he opened his shirt to the 
warm summer sun, propped his bare feet against the shingles, 
looked down at the mansion's vast rolling meadow of a lawn, 
listened for a moment to the song of a chickadee in the branches 
of a tree nearby, and then turned, ready for our first question. 

Playboy: How many times have you used LSD, Dr. Leary? 

Leary: Up to this moment, I've had 311 psychedelic sessions. 

Playboy: What do you think it's done for you and to you? 

Leary: That's difficult to answer easily. Let me say this: I was 
thirty-nine when I had my first psychedelic experience. At that 
time, I was a middle-aged man involved in the middle-aged 
process of dying. My joy in life, my sensual openness, my 
creativity were all sliding downhill. Since that time, six years 
ago, my life has been renewed in almost every dimension. Most 
of my colleagues at the University of California and at Harvard, 
of course, feel that I've become an eccentric and a kook. I would 
estimate that fewer than 15 percent of my professional col- 
leagues understand and support what I'm doing. The ones who 
do, as you might expect, tend to be among the younger psychol- 
ogists. If you know a person's age, you know what he's going to 
think and feel about LSD. Psychedelic drugs are the medium of 
the young. As you move up the age scale into the thirties, forties 
and fifties, fewer and fewer people are open to the possibilities 
that these chemicals offer. 

Playboy: Why is that? 

Leary: To the person over thirty-five or forty, the word 
"drug" means one of two things: doctor-disease or dope fiend- 
crime. Nothing you can say to a person who has this neurologi- 
cal fix on the word "drug" is going to change his mind. He's 
frozen like a Pavlovian dog to this conditioned reflex. To 
people under twenty-five, on the other hand, the word "drug" 
refers to a wide range of mind benders running from alcohol. 

She Comes in Colors [ 123 

energizers and stupefiers to marijuana and the other psychedelic 
drugs. To middle-aged America, it may be synonymous with 
instant insanity, but to most Americans under twenty-five, the 
psychedelic drug means ecstasy, sensual unfolding, religious 
experience, revelation, illumination, contact with nature. 
There's hardly a teen-ager or young person in the United States 
today who doesn't know at least one person who has had a good 
experience with marijuana or LSD. The horizons of the current 
younger generation, in terms of expanded consciousness, are 
light-years beyond those of their parents. The breakthrough 
has occurred; there's no going back. The psychedelic battle is 

Playboy: What do you say to the standard charge that LSD is 
too powerful and dangerous to entrust to the young? 

Leary: Well, none of us yet knows exactly how LSD can be 
used for the growth and benefit of the human being. It is a 
powerful releaser of energy as yet not fully understood. But if 
I'm confronted with the possibility that a fifteen-year-old or a 
fifty-year-old is going to use a new form of energy that he 
doesn't understand, I'll back the fifteen-year-old every time. 
Why? Because a fifteen-year-old is going to use a new form of 
energy to have fun, to intensify sensation, to make love, for 
curiosity, for personal growth. Many fifty-year-olds have lost 
their curiosity, have lost their ability to make love, have dulled 
their openness to new sensations, and would use any form of 
new energy for power, control and warfare. So it doesn't con- 
cern me at all that young people are taking time out from the 
educational and occupational assembly lines to experiment with 
consciousness, to dabble with new forms of experience and 
artistic expression. The present generation under the age of 
twenty-five is the wisest and holiest generation that the human 
race has ever seen. And by God, instead of lamenting, derogat- 
ing and imprisoning them, we should support them, listen to 
them and turn on with them. 

Playboy: If we wanted to take you up on that last suggestion, 
how would we go about it? 

Leary: Find a beloved friend who knows where to get LSD 

The Politics of Ecstasy [124 

and how to run a session, or find a trusted and experienced LSD 
voyager to guide you on a trip. 

Playboy: Is it necessary to have a guide? 

Leary: Yes. Unless you have an experienced guideat least 
for your first 10 or 15 sessions it would be confusing. 

Playboy: What if a person can't find either a guide or a 
source of LSD among his friends? Where does he go? 

Leary: LSD is against the law, and I certainly would not 
advise anyone to violate the law. I will say this, however: 
Throughout human history, men who have wanted to expand 
their consciousness, to find deeper meaning inside themselves, 
have been able to do it if they were willing to commit the time 
and energy to do so. In other times and countries, men would 
walk barefooted 2,000 miles to find spiritual teachers who 
would turn them on to Buddha, Mohammed or Ramakrishna. 

Playboy: If you can't say where one could buy LSD, can you 
tell us the formula for making it? We understand it can be 
synthesized in any well-equipped chemical laboratory. 

Leary: That's true. But it would be irresponsible of me to 
reveal it. The unauthorized manufacture of LSD is now against 
the law. 

Playboy: Assuming you can get it, how do you take it? Can it 
be injected, or is it mostly just swallowed in a sugar cube? 

Leary: It can be injected or it can come in the form of 
powder or pills or in a solution, which is odorless, tasteless and 
colorless. In any case, you're dealing with a very minute quan- 
tity. One hundred micrograms is a moderate dose. 

Playboy: For a session lasting how long? 

Leary: Eight to twelve hours. 

Playboy: What's it like? What happens to you? 

Leary: If we're speaking in a general way, what happens to 
everyone is the experience of incredible acceleration and inten- 
sification of all senses and of all mental processes which can be 
very confusing if you're not prepared for it. Around a thousand 
million signals fire off in your brain every second; during any 
second in an LSD session, you find yourself tuned in on thou-- 
sands of these messages that ordinarily you don't register con- 

She Comes in Colors [ 125 

sciously. And you may be getting an incredible number of 
simultaneous messages from different parts of your body. Since 
you're not used to this, it can lead to incredible ecstasy or it can 
lead to confusion. Some people are freaked by this Niagara of 
sensory input. Instead of having just one or two or three things 
happening in tidy sequence, you're suddenly flooded by hun- 
dreds of lights and colors and sensations and images, and you 
can get quite lost. 

You sense a strange powerful force beginning to unloose and 
radiate through your body. In normal perception, we are aware 
of static symbols. But as the LSD effect takes hold, everything 
begins to move, and this relentless, impersonal, slowly swelling 
movement will continue through the several hours of the ses- 
sion. It's as though for all of your normal waking life you have 
been caught in a still photograph, in an awkward, stereotyped 
posture; suddenly the show comes alive, balloons out to several 
dimensions and becomes irradiated with color and energy. 

The first thing you notice is an incredible enhancement of 
sensory awareness. Take the sense of sight. LSD vision is to 
normal vision as normal vision is to the picture on a badly 
tuned television set. Under LSD, it's as though you have micro- 
scopes up to your eyes, in which you see jewellike, radiant 
details of anything your eye falls upon. You are really seeing for 
the first time not static, symbolic perception of learned things, 
but patterns of light bouncing off the objects around you and 
hurtling at the speed of light into the mosaic of rods and cones 
in the retina of your eye. Everything seems alive. Everything is 
alive, beaming diamond-bright light waves into your retina. 

Playboy: Is the sense of hearing similarly intensified? 

Leary: Tremendously. Ordinarily we hear just isolated 
sounds: the rings of a telephone, the sound of somebody's 
words. But when you turn on with LSD, the organ of Corti in 
your inner ear becomes a trembling membrane seething with 
tattoos of sound waves. The vibrations seem to penetrate deep 
inside you, swell and burst there. You hear one note of a Bach 
sonata, and it hangs there, glittering, pulsating, for an endless 
length of time, while you slowly orbit around it. Then, hun- 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 126 

dreds of years later, comes the second note of the sonata, and 
again, for hundreds of years, you slowly drift around the two 
notes, observing the harmony and the discords, and reflecting 
on the history of music. 

But when your nervous system is turned on with LSD, and all 
the wires are flashing, the senses begin to overlap and merge. 
You not only hear but see the music emerging from the speaker 
system like dancing particles, like squirming curls of tooth- 
paste. You actually see the sound in multicolored patterns while 
you're hearing it. At the same time, you are the sound, you are 
the note, you are the string of the violin or the piano. And 
every one of your organs is pulsating and having orgasms in 
rhythm with it. 

Playboy: What happens to the sense of taste? 

Leary: Taste is intensified, too, although normally you won't 
feel like eating during an LSD session, any more than you feel 
like eating when you take your first solo at the controls of a 
supersonic jet. Although if you eat after a session, there is an 
appreciation of all the particular qualities of food its texture 
and resiliency and viscosity such as we are not conscious of in a 
normal state of awareness. 

Playboy: How about the sense of smell? 

Leary: This is one of the most overwhelming aspects of an 
LSD experience. It seems as though for the first time you are 
breathing life, and you remember with amusement and distaste 
that plastic, odorless, artificial gas that you used to consider air. 
During the LSD experience, you discover that you're actually 
inhaling an atmosphere composed of millions of microscopic 
strands of olfactory ticker tape, exploding in your nostrils with 
ecstatic meaning. When you sit across the room from a woman 
during an LSD session, you're aware of thousands of penetrat- 
ing chemical messages floating from her through the air into 
your sensory center: a symphony of a thousand odors that all of 
us exude at every moment the shampoo she uses, her cologne, 
her sweat, the exhaust and discharge from her digestive system, 
her sexual perfume, the fragrance of her clothing grenades of 
eroticism exploding in the olfactory cell. 

She Comes In Colors [ 127 

Playboy: Does the sense of touch become equally erotic? 

Leary: Touch becomes electric as well as erotic. I remember 
a moment during one session in which Rosemary leaned over 
and lightly touched the palm of my hand with her finger. 
Immediately a hundred thousand end cells in my hand ex- 
ploded in soft orgasm. Ecstatic energies pulsated up my arms 
and rocketed into my brain, where another hundred thousand 
cells softly exploded in pure, delicate pleasure. The distance 
between my wife's finger and the palm of my hand was about 50 
miles of space, filled with cotton candy, infiltrated with thou- 
sands of silver wires hurtling energy back and forth. Wave after 
waver of exquisite energy pulsed from her finger. Wave upon 
wave of ethereal tissue rapture delicate, shuddering coursed 
back and forth from her finger to my palm. 

Playboy: And this rapture was erotic? 

Leary: Transcendentally. An enormous amount of energy 
from every fiber of your body is released under LSD most espe- 
cially including sexual energy. There is no question that LSD is 
the most powerful aphrodisiac ever discovered by man. 

Playboy: Would you elaborate? 

Leary: I'm saying simply that sex under LSD becomes mi- 
raculously enhanced and intensified. I don't mean that it simply 
generates genital energy. It doesn't automatically produce a 
longer erection. Rather, it increases your sensitivity a thousand 
percent. Let me put it this way: Compared with sex under LSD, 
the way you've been making love no matter how ecstatic the 
pleasure you think you get from it is like making love to a 
department-store-window dummy. In sensory and cellular com- 
munion on LSD, you may spend a half hour making love with 
eyeballs, another half hour making love with breath. As you 
spin through a thousand sensory and cellular organic changes, 
she does, too. Ordinarily, sexual communication involves one's 
own chemicals, pressure and interactions of a very localized 
nature in what the psychologists call the erogenous zones. A 
vulgar, dirty concept, I think. When you're making love under 
LSD, it's as though every cell in your body and you have tril- 
lionsis making love with every cell in her body. Your hand 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 128 

doesn't caress her skin but sinks down into and merges with 
ancient dynamos of ecstasy within her. 

Playboy: How often have you made love under the influence 
of LSD? 

Leary: Every time I've taken it. In fact, that is what the LSD 
experience is all about. Merging, yielding, flowing, union, com- 
munion. It's all lovemaking. You make love with candlelight, 
with sound waves from a record player, with a bowl of fruit on 
the table, with the trees. You're in pulsating harmony with all 
the energy around you. 

Playboy: Including that of a woman? 

Leary: The three inevitable goals of the LSD session are to 
discover and make love with God, to discover and make love 
with yourself, and to discover and make love with a woman. 
You can't make it with yourself unless you've made it with the 
timeless energy process around you, and you can't make it with 
a woman until you've made it with yourself. The natural and 
obvious way to take LSD is with a member of the opposite sex, 
and an LSD session that does not involve an ultimate merging 
with a person of the opposite sex isn't really complete. One of 
the great purposes of an LSD session is sexual union. The more 
expanded your consciousness the farther out you can move 
beyond your mind the deeper, the richer, the longer and more 
meaningful your sexual communion. 

Playboy: We've heard about sessions in which couples make 
love for hours on end, to the point of exhaustion, but never 
seem to reach exhaustion. Is this true? 

Leary: Yup. 

Playboy: Can you describe the sensation of an orgasm under 

Leary: Only the most reckless poet would attempt that. I 
have to say to you, "What does one say to a little child?" The 
child asks, "Daddy, what is sex like?" and you try to describe it, 
and then the little child says, "Well, is it fun like the circus?'* 
and you say, "Well, not exactly like that." And the child says, 
"Is it fun like chocolate ice cream?" and you say, "Well, it's like 
that but much, much more than that." And the child says, "Is it 

She Comes in Colors [ 129 

fun like the roller coaster, then?" and you say, "Well, that's part 
of it, but it's even more than that." In short, I can't tell you 
what it's like, because it's not like anything that's ever hap 
pened to you and there aren't words adequate to describe it, 
anyway. You won't know what it's like until you try it yourself 
and then I won't need to tell you. 

Playboy: We've heard that some women who ordinarily have 
difficulty achieving orgasm find themselves capable of multiple 
orgasms under LSD. Is that true? 

Leary: In a carefully prepared, loving LSD session, a woman 
can have several hundred orgasms. 

Playboy: Several hundred? 

Leary: Yes. Several hundred. 

Playboy: What about a man? 

Leary: This preoccupation with the number of orgasms is a 
hang-up for many men and women. It's as crude and vulgar a 
concept as wondering how much she paid for the negligee. 

Playboy: Still, there must be some sort of physiological 
comparison. If a woman can have several hundred orgasms, how 
many can a man have under optimum conditions? 

Leary: It would depend entirely on the amount of sexual 
and psychedelic experience the man has had. I can speak only 
for myself and about my own experience. I can only compare 
what I was with what I am now. In the last six years, my 
openness to, my responsiveness to, my participation in every 
form of sensory expression, has multiplied a thousandfold. 

Playboy: This aspect of LSD has been hinted at privately 
but never spelled out in public until now. Why? 

Leary: The sexual impact is, of course, the open but private 
secret about LSD, which none of us has talked about in the last 
few years. It's socially dangerous enough to say that LSD helps 
you find divinity and helps you discover yourself. You're al- 
ready in trouble when you say that. But then if you announce 
that the psychedelic experience is basically a sexual experience, 
you're asking to bring the whole middle-aged, middle-class 
monolith down on your head. At the present time, however, 
I'm under a thirty-year sentence of imprisonment, which for a 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 130 

forty-five-year-old man is essentially a life term, and in addition, 
I am under indictment on a second marijuana offense involving 
a 16-year sentence. Since there is hardly anything more that 
middle-aged, middle-class authority can do to me and since the 
secret is out anyway among the young I feel I'm free at this 
moment to say what we've never said before: that sexual ecstasy 
is the basic reason for the current LSD boom. When Dr. 
Goddard, the head of the Food and Drug Administration, 
announced in a Senate hearing that 10 percent of our college 
students are taking LSD, did you ever wonder why? Sure, 
they're discovering God and meaning; sure, they're discovering 
themselves; but did you really think that sex wasn't the funda- 
mental reason for this surging, youthful social boom? You can 
no more do research on LSD and leave out sexual ecstasy than 
you can do microscopic research on tissue and leave out cells. 

LSD is not an automatic trigger to sexual awakening, how- 
ever. The first 10 times you take it, you might not be able to 
have a sexual experience at all, because you're so overwhelmed 
and delighted or frightened and confused by the novelty; the 
idea of having sex might be irrelevant or incomprehensible at 
the moment. But it depends upon the setting and the partner. 
It is almost inevitable, if a man and his mate take LSD together, 
that their sexual energies will be unimaginably intensified, and 
unless clumsiness or fright on the part of one or the other blocks 
it, it will lead to a deeper experience than they ever thought 

From the beginning of our research, I have been aware of this 
tremendous personal power in LSD. You must be very careful 
to take it only with someone you know really well, because it's 
almost inevitable that a woman will fall in love with the man 
who shares her LSD experience. Deep and lasting neurological 
imprints, profound emotional bonds, can develop as a result of 
an LSD session bonds that can last a lifetime. For this reason, I 
have always been extremely cautious about running sessions 
with men and women. We always try to have a subject's hus- 
band or wife present during his or her first session, so that as 
(these powerful urges develop, they are directed in ways that can 
be lived out responsibly after the session. 

She Comes in Colors [ 131 

Playboy: Are you preaching psychedelic monogamy? 

Leary: Well, I can't generalize, but one of the great lessons 
I've learned from LSD is that every man contains the essence of 
all men and every woman has within her all women. I remem- 
ber a session a few years ago in which, with horror and ecstasy, I 
opened my eyes and looked into Rosemary's eyes and was pulled 
into the deep pools of her being floating softly in the center of 
her mind, experiencing everything that she was experiencing, 
knowing every thought that she had ever had. As my eyes were 
riveted to hers, her face began to melt and change. I saw her as a 
young girl, as a baby, as an old woman with gray hair and 
seamy, wrinkled face. I saw her as a witch, a madonna, a 
nagging crone, a radiant queen, a Byzantine virgin, a tired, 
worldly-wise oriental whore who had seen every sight of life 
repeated a thousand times. She was all women, all woman, the 
essence of female eyes smiling, quizzically, resignedly, devil- 
ishly, always inviting: "See me, hear me, join me, merge with 
me, keep the dance going." Now the implications of this experi- 
ence for sex and mating, I think, are obvious. It's because of 
this, not because of moral restrictions or restraints, that I've 
been extremely monogamous in my use of LSD over the last six 

Playboy: When you speak of monogamy, do you mean 
complete sexual fidelity to one woman? 

Leary: Well, the notion of running around trying to find 
different mates is a very low-level concept. We are living in a 
world of expanding population in which there are more and 
more beautiful young girls coming off the assembly line each 
month. It's obvious that the sexual criteria of the past are going 
to be changed, and that what's demanded of creatures with our 
sensory and cellular repertoire is not just one affair after an- 
other with one young body after another, but the exploration of 
the incredible depths and varieties of your own identity with a 
single member of the opposite sex. This involves time and 
commitment to the voyage. . . . There is a certain kind of 
neurological and cellular fidelity that develops. I have said for 
many years now that in the future the grounds for divorce 
would not be that your wife went to bed with another man and 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 152 

bounced around on a mattress for an hour or two, but that your 
wife had an LSD session with somebody else, because the bonds 
and the connections that develop are so powerful. 

Playboy: It's been reported that when you are in the com- 
pany of women, quite a lot of them turn on to you. As a matter 
of fact, a friend of yours told us that you could have two or 
three different women every night if you wanted to. Is he right? 

Leary: For the most part, during the last six years, I have 
lived very quietly in our research centers. But on lecture tours 
and in highly enthusiastic social gatherings, there is no question 
that a charismatic public figure does generate attraction and 
stimulate a sexual response. 

Playboy: How often do you return this response? 

Leary: Every woman has built into her cells and tissues the 
longing for a hero, sage-mythic male, to open up and share her 
own divinity. But casual sexual encounters do not satisfy this 
deep longing. Any charismatic person who is conscious of his 
own mythic potency awakens this basic hunger in women and 
pays reverence to it at the level that is harmonious and appro- 
priate at the time. Compulsive body grabbing, however, is 
rarely the vehicle of such communication. 

Playboy: Do you disapprove of the idea of casual romance- 
catalyzed by LSD? 

Leary: Well, I'm no one to tell anyone else what to do. But I 
would say, if you use LSD to make out sexually in the seductive 
sense, then you'll be a very humiliated and embarrassed person, 
because it's just not going to work. On LSD, her eyes would be 
microscopic, and she'd see very plainly what you were up to, 
coming on with some heavy-handed, moustache-twisting rou- 
tine. You'd look like a consummate ass, and she'd laugh at you, 
or you'd look like a monster and she'd scream and go into a 
paranoid state. Nothing good can happen with LSD if it's used 
crudely or for power or manipulative purposes. 

Playboy: Suppose you met a girl at a party, developed an 
immediate rapport, and you both decided to share an LSD trip 
that same night. Could it work under those circumstances? 

Leary: You must remember that in taking LSD with some- 

She Comes In Colors [ 133 

one else, you are voluntarily relinquishing all of your person- 
ality defenses and opening yourself up in a very vulnerable 
manner. If you and the girl are ready to do this, there would be 
an immediate and deep rapport if you took a trip together. 
People from the LSD cult would be able to do it upon a brief 
meeting, but an inexperienced person would probably find it 
extremely confusing, and the people might become quite iso- 
lated from each other. They might be whirled into the rapture 
or confusion of their own inner workings and forget entirely 
that the other person is there. 

Playboy: According to some reports, LSD can trigger the 
acting out of latent homosexual impulses in ostensibly hetero- 
sexual men and women. Is there any truth to that, in your 

Leary: On the contrary, the fact is that LSD is a specific cure 
for homosexuality. It's well known that most sexual perversions 
are the result not of biological binds but of freaky, dislocating 
childhood experiences of one kind or another. Consequently, 
it's not surprising that we've had many cases of long-term 
homosexuals who, under LSD, discover that they are not only 
genitally but genetically male, that they are basically attracted 
to females. The most famous and public of such cases is that of 
Allen Ginsberg, who has openly stated that the first time he 
turned on to women was during an LSD session several years 
ago. But this is only one of many such cases. 

Playboy: Has this happened with Lesbians? 

Leary: I was just going to cite such a case. An extremely 
attractive girl came down to our training center in Mexico. She 
was a Lesbian and she was very active sexually, but all of her 
energy was devoted to making it with girls. She was at an LSD 
session at one of our cottages and went down to the beach and 
saw this young man in a bathing suit and flash! for the first 
time in her life the cellular electricity was flowing in her body 
and it bridged the gap. Her subsequent sexual choices were 
almost exclusively members of the opposite sex. 

For the same reasons, LSD is also a powerful panacea for 
impotence and frigidity, both of which, like homosexuality, are 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 134 

symbolic screw-ups. The LSD experience puts you in touch 
with the wisdom of your body, of your nervous system, of your 
cells, of your organs. And the closer you get to the message of 
the body, the more obvious it becomes that it's constructed and 
designed to procreate and keep the life stream going. When 
you're confronted with this basic cellular fact under LSD, you 
realize that your impotency, or your frigidity, is caused by 
neuropsychological hang-ups of fear or shame that make no 
sense to your cells, that have nothing to do with the biochemical 
forces inside your body urging you to merge and mate with a 
member of the opposite sex. 

Playboy: Does LSD always work as a sexual cure-all? 

Leary: Certainly not. LSD is no guarantee of any specific 
social or sexual outcome. One man may take LSD and leave 
wife and family and go off to be a monk on the banks of the 
Ganges. Another may take LSD and go hack to his wife. It's a 
highly individual situation. Highly unpredictable. During LSD 
sessions, you see, there can come a microscopic perception of 
your routine social and professional life. You may discover to 
your horror that you're living a robot existence, that your rela- 
tionships with your boss, your wife and your family are stereo- 
typed, empty and devoid of meaning. At this point, there might 
come a desire to renounce this hollow existence, to collect your 
thoughts, to go away and cloister yourself from the world like a 
monk while you figure out what kind of a life you want to go 
back to, if any. 

Conversely, we've found that in giving LSD to members of 
monastic sects, there has been a definite tendency for them to 
leave the monastic life and to find a mating relationship. Sev- 
eral were men in their late forties who had been monks for 15 
or 20 years, but who even at this mature age returned to society, 
married and made the heterosexual adjustment. It's not coinci- 
dental that of all those I've given LSD to, the religious group- 
more than 200 ministers, priests, divinity students and nuns- 
has experienced the most intense sexual reaction. And in two 
religious groups that prize chastity and celibacy, there have 
been wholesale defections of monks and nuns who left their 

She Comes In Colors [ 135 

religious orders to get married after a series of LSD experiences. 
The LSD session, you see, is an overwhelming awakening of 
experience; it releases potent, primal energies, and one of these 
is the sexual impulse, which is the strongest impulse at any level 
of organic life. For the first time in their lives, perhaps, these 
people were meeting head on the powerful life forces that they 
had walled off with ritualized defenses and self-delusions. 

Playboy: A great deal of what is said about LSD by its 
proponents, including you, has been couched in terms of reli- 
gious mysticism. You spoke earlier, in fact, of discovering 
"divinity" through LSD. In what way is the LSD experience 

Leary: It depends on what you mean by religion. For almost 
everyone, the LSD experience is a confrontation with new 
forms of wisdom and energy that dwarf and humiliate man's 
mind. This experience of awe and revelation is often described 
as religious. I consider my work basically religious, because it 
has as its goal the systematic expansion of consciousness and the 
discovery of energies within, which men call "divine." From the 
psychedelic point of view, almost all religions are attempts 
sometimes limited temporally or nationally to discover the 
inner potential. Well, LSD is Western yoga. The aim of all 
Eastern religion, like the aim of LSD, is basically to get high: 
that is, to expand your consciousness and find ecstasy and 
revelation within. 

Playboy: Dr. Gerald Klee, of the National Institute of Men- 
tal Health, has written: "Those who say LSD expands con- 
sciousness would have the task of defining the terms. By any 
conventional definition, I don't think it does expand the con- 
sciousness." What do you think? 

Leary: Well, he's using the narrow, conventional definition 
of consciousness that psychiatrists have been taught: that there 
are two levels of consciousness sleep and symbolic normal 
awareness. Anything else is insanity. So by conventional defini- 
tion, LSD does not expand symbolic consciousness; thus, it 
creates psychosis. In terms of his conventional symbol game. Dr. 
Klee is right. My contention is that his definition is too narrow. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 136 

that it comes from a deplorable, primitive and superstitious 
system of consciousness. My system of consciousness attested to 
by the experience of hundreds of thousands of trained voyagers 
who've taken LSD defines seven different levels of awareness. 

Playboy: What are they? 

Leary: The lowest levels of consciousness are sleep and stu- 
por, which are produced by narcotics, barbiturates and our 
national stupefacient, alcohol. A third level of consciousness 
is the conventional wakeful state, in which awareness is hooked 
to conditioned symbols: flags, dollar signs, job titles, brand 
names, party affiliations and the like. This is the level that most 
people, including psychiatrists, regard as reality; they don't 
know the half of it. The next two levels of awareness, somatic 
and sensory, would, I think, be of particular interest to Play- 
boy readers, because most of them are of the younger genera- 
tion, which is much more sensual than the puritanical 
Americans of the older generation. In order to reach the somatic 
and sensory levels, you have to have something that will turn 
off symbols and open up your billions of sensory cameras 
to the billions of impulses that are hitting them. The chemical 
that opens the door to this level has been well known for 
centuries to cultures that stress delicate, sensitive registration 
of sensory stimulation: the Arab cultures, the Indian cul- 
tures, the Mogul cultures. It is marijuana. There is no ques- 
tion that marijuana is a sensual stimulator and this explains 
not only why it's favored by young people but why it arouses 
fear and panic among the middle-aged, middle-class, whiskey- 
drinking, bluenosed bureaucrats who run the narcotics agen- 
cies. If they only knew what they were missing. 

But we must bid a sad farewell to the bodily levels of 
consciousness and go on to the sixth level, which I call the 
cellular level. It's well known that the stronger psychedelics 
such as mescaline and LSD take you beyond the senses into a 
world of cellular awareness. Now the neurological fact of the 
matter is that every one of your 13 billion brain cells is hooked 
up to some 25,000 other cells, and everything you know comes 
from a communication exchange at the nerve endings of your 

She Comes in Colors [ 137 

cells. During an LSD session, enormous clusters of these cells 
are turned on, and consciousness whirls into eerie panoramas 
for which we have no words or concepts. Here the metaphor 
that's most accurate is the metaphor of the microscope, which 
brings into awareness cellular patterns that are invisible to the 
naked eye. In the same way, LSD brings into awareness the 
cellular conversations that are inaudible to the normal con- 
sciousness and for which we have no adequate symbolic lan- 
guage. You become aware of processes you were never tuned in 
to before. You feel yourself sinking down into the soft tissue 
swamp of your own body, slowly drifting down dark red water- 
ways and floating through capillary canals, softly propelled 
through endless cellular factories, ancient fibrous clockworks- 
ticking, clicking, chugging, pumping relentlessly. Being swal- 
lowed up this way by the tissue industries and the bloody, 
sinewy carryings-on inside your body can be an appalling ex- 
perience the first time it happens to you. But it can also be an 
awesome one fearful, but full of reverence and wonder. 

Playboy: Is there more? 

Leary: Yes, and this level is even more strange and terrify- 
ing. This is the precellular level, which is experienced only 
under a heavy dosage of LSD. Your nerve cells are aware as 
Professor Einstein was aware that all matter, all structure, is 
pulsating energy; well, there is a shattering moment in the deep 
psychedelic session when your body, and the world around you, 
dissolves into shimmering latticeworks of pulsating white waves, 
into silent, subcellular worlds of shuttling energy. But this 
phenomenon is nothing new. It's been reported by mystics and 
visionaries throughout the last 4,000 years of recorded history as 
"the white light" or the "dance of energy." Suddenly you 
realize that everything you thought of as reality or even as life 
itself including your body is just a dance of particles. You find 
yourself horribly alone in a dead, impersonal world of raw 
energy feeding on your sense organs. This, of course, is one of 
the oldest oriental philosophic notions, that nothing exists 
except in the chemistry of your own consciousness. But when it 
first really happens to you through the experience of LSD, it 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 138 

can come as a terrorizing, isolating discovery. At this point, the 
unprepared LSD subject often screams out: "I'm dead!" And he 
sits there transfigured with fear, afraid to move. For the experi- 
enced voyager, however, this revelation can be exalting: You've 
climbed inside Einstein's formula, penetrated to the ultimate 
nature of matter, and you're pulsing in harmony with its 
primal, cosmic beat. 

Playboy: Has this happened to you often during a session? 

Leary: It's happened to me about half of the 311 times I've 
taken LSD. And every time it begins to happen, no matter how 
much experience you've had, there is that moment of terror 
because nobody likes to see the comfortable world of objects 
and symbols and even cells disintegrate into the ultimate physi- 
cal design. 

Playboy: Do you think there may be a deeper level of 
consciousness beyond the precellular? 

Leary: I hope so. We know that there are many other levels 
of energy within and around us, and I hope that within our 
lifetimes we will have these opened up to us, because the fact is 
that there is no form of energy on this planet that isn't recorded 
somewhere in your body. Built within every cell are molecular 
strands of memory and awareness called the DNA code the 
genetic blueprint that has designed and executed the construc- 
tion of your body. This is an ancient strand of molecules that 
possesses memories of every previous organism that has con- 
tributed to your present existence. In your DNA code you have 
the genetic history of your father and mother. It goes back, 
back, back through the generations, through the eons. Your 
body carries a protein record of everything that's happened to 
you since the moment you were conceived as a one-cell orga- 
nism. It's a living history of every form of energy transforma- 
tion on this planet back to that thunderbolt in the Precambrian 
mud that spawned the life process over two billion years ago. 
When LSD subjects report retrogression and reincarnation 
visions, this is not mysterious or supernatural. It's simply mod- 
ern biogenetics. 

Playboy: Tell us more about these visions. 

She Comes in Colors [ 139 

Leary: Well, we don't know how these memories are stored, 
but countless events from early and even intrauterine life are 
registered in your brain and can be flashed into consciousness 
during an LSD experience. 

Playboy: Do you merely remember them, or do you actually 
relive them? 

Leary: The experiences that come from LSD are actually 
relived in sight, sound, smell, taste and touch exactly the way 
they happened before. 

Playboy: If it's an experience from very early life, how can 
you be sure it's a true memory rather than a vivid hallucination? 

Leary: It's possible to check out some of these ancient 
memories, but for the most part these memory banks, which are 
built into your protein cellular strands, can never be checked 
on by external observation. Who can possibly corroborate what 
your nervous system picked up before your birth, inside your 
mother? But the obvious fact is that your nervous system was 
operating while you were still in the uterus. It was receiving 
and recording units of consciousness. Why, then, is it surprising 
that at some later date, if you have the chemical key, you can 
release these memories of the nine perilous and exciting months 
before you were born? 

Playboy: Can these memory visions be made selective? Is it 
possible to travel back in time at will? 

Leary: Yes, it is. That happens to be the particular project 
that I've been working on most recently with LSD. I've charted 
my own family tree and traced it back as far as I can. I've tried 
to plumb the gene pools from which my ancestors emerged in 
Ireland and France. 

Playboy: With what success? 

Leary: Well, there are certain moments in my evolutionary 
history that I can reach all the time, but there are certain untidy 
comers in my racial path that I often get boxed into, and be- 
cause they are frightening, I freak out and open my eyes and 
stop it. In many of these sessions, back about 300 years, I often 
run across a particular French-appearing man with a black 
moustache, a rather dangerous-looking guy. And there are sev- 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 140 

eral highly eccentric recurrent sequences in an Anglo-Saxon 
country that have notably embarrassed me when I relived them 
in LSD sessions goings-on that shocked my twentieth-century 

Playboy: What sort of goings-on? 

Leary: Moments of propagation scenes of rough ancestral 
sexuality in Irish barrooms, in haystacks, in canopied beds, in 
covered wagons, on beaches, on the moist jungle floor and 
moments of crisis in which my forebears escape from fang, from 
spear, from conspiracy, from tidal wave and avalanche. I've 
concluded that the imprints most deeply engraved in the neuro- 
logical memory bank have to do with these moments of life- 
affirming exultation and exhilaration in the perpetuation and 
survival of the species. 

Playboy: But how can you be sure they ever happened? 

Leary: You can't. They may all be nothing more than 
luridly melodramatic Saturday serials conjured up by my fore- 
brain. But whatever they are memory or imagination it's the 
most exciting adventure I've ever been involved in. 

Playboy: In this connection, according to a spokesman for 
the student left, many former campus activists who've gone the 
LSD route are "more concerned with what's happening in their 
heads than what's happening in the world." Any comment? 

Leary: There's a certain truth in that. The insight of LSD 
leads you to concern yourself more with internal or spiritual 
values; you realize that it doesn't make any difference what you 
do on the outside unless you change the inside. If all the Ne- 
groes and left-wing college students in the world had Cadillacs 
and full control of society, they would still be involved in an 
anthill social system unless they opened themselves up first. 

Playboy: Aren't these young ex-activists among an increas- 
ing number of students, writers, artists and musicians whom 
one critic has called "the psychedelic drop-outs" LSD users 
who find themselves divested of motivation, unable to readjust 
to reality or to resume their roles in society? 

Leary: There is an LSD drop-out problem, but it's nothing 
to worry about. It's something to cheer. The lesson I have 

She Comes in Colors [ 141 

learned from over 300 LSD sessions, and which I have been 
passing on to others, can be stated in 6 syllables: Turn on, tune 
in, drop out. "Turn on" means to contact the ancient energies 
and wisdoms that are built into your nervous system. They 
provide unspeakable pleasure and revelation. "Tune in" means 
to harness and communicate these new perspectives in a har- 
monious dance with the external world. "Drop out" means to 
detach yourself from the tribal game. Current models of social 
adjustment mechanized, computerized, socialized, intellectual- 
ized, televised. Sanforized make no sense to the new LSD 
generation, who see clearly that American society is becoming 
an air-conditioned anthill. In every generation of human his- 
tory, thoughtful men have turned on and dropped out of the 
tribal game and thus stimulated the larger society to lurch 
ahead. Every historical advance has resulted from the stern 
pressure of visionary men who have declared their indepen- 
dence from the game: "Sorry, George III, we don't buy your 
model. We're going to try something new"; "Sorry, Louis XVI, 
we've got a new idea. Deal us out"; "Sorry, LB J, it's time to 
mosey on beyond the Great Society." 

The reflex reaction of society to the creative drop-out is panic 
and irritation. If anyone questions the social order, he threatens 
the whole shaky edifice. The automatic, angry reaction to the 
creative drop-out is that he will become a parasite on the hard- 
working, conforming citizen. This is not true. The LSD experi- 
ence does not lead to passivity and withdrawal; it spurs a 
driving hunger to communicate in new forms, in better ways, to 
express a more harmonious message, to live a better life. The 
LSD cult has already wrought revolutionary changes in Ameri- 
can culture. If you were to conduct a poll of the creative young 
musicians in this country, you'd find that at least 80 percent are 
using psychedelic drugs in a systematic way. And this new 
psychedelic style has produced not only a new rhythm in mod- 
ern music but a new decor for our discotheques, a new form of 
film making, a new kinetic visual art, a new literature, and has 
begun to revise our philosophic and psychological thinking. 

Remember, it's the college kids who are turning on the 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 142 

smartest and most promising of the youngsters. What an excit- 
ing prospect: a generation of creative youngsters refusing to 
march in step, refusing to go to offices, refusing to sign up on 
the installment plan, refusing to climb aboard the treadmill. 

Playboy: What will they do? 

Leary: Don't worry. Each one will work out his individual 
solution. Some will return to the establishment and inject their 
new ideas. Some will live underground as self-employed artists, 
artisans and writers. Some are already forming small communi- 
ties out of the country. Many are starting schools for children 
and adults who wish to learn the use of their sense organs. 
Psychedelic businesses are springing up: bookstores, art gal- 
leries. Psychedelic industries may involve more manpower in 
the future than the automobile industry has produced in the 
last 20 years. In our technological society of the future, the prob- 
lem will be not to get people to work but to develop graceful, 
fulfilling ways of living a more serene, beautiful and creative 
life. Psychedelics will help to point the way. 

Playboy: Concerning LSD's influence on creativity. Dr. B. 
William Murphy, a psychoanalyst for the National Institute of 
Mental Health, takes the view that there is no evidence "that 
drugs of any kind increase creative potency. One unfortunate 
ejffect is to produce an illusion dangerous to people who are 
creative, who cease then to be motivated to produce something 
that is genuinely new. And the illusion is bad in making those 
who are not creative get the idea that they are." What's your 

Leary: It's unfortunate that most of the scientific studies on 
creativity have been done by psychologists who don't have one 
creative bone in their body. They have studied people who by 
definition are emphatically uncreative namely, graduate stu- 
dents. Is it any wonder that all the "scientific" studies of LSD 
and creativity have shown no creative results? But to answer 
your question, I must admit that LSD and marijuana do not 
allow you to walk to the piano and ripple off great fugues. 
Psychedelic drugs, particularly marijuana, merely enhance the 
senses. They allow you to see and hear new patterns of energy 

She Comes in Colors [ 143 

that suggest new patterns for composition. In this way, they 
enhance the creative perspective, but the ability to convert your 
new perspective, however glorious it may be, into a communica- 
tion form still requires the technical skill of a musician or a 
painter or a composer. 

But if you want to find out whether LSD and marijuana have 
helped creative people, don't listen to a psychiatrist; don't listen 
to a government bureaucrat. Find the artist and ask him. If you 
want to find out about creativity, ask the creative person. If you 
want to know what LSD does and whether it's good or bad, 
don't listen to a cop; don't listen to messianic fanatics like 
Timothy Leary. Find some friend who has taken LSD and ask 
him. He's the person to believe because you'll know how likely 
he is to distort things, and then you'll be able to judge on the 
basis of his statements what LSD has done for him. Then ask 
other friends about their experiences. Base your opinion about 
LSD on a series of such interviews, and you will have collected 
more hard data than any of the public health officials and police 
officers who are making daily scare statements to the press these 

Playboy: Are any of these scare statements true? According 
to a recent report on narcotics addiction published by the 
Medical Society of the County of New York, for example, 
*'those with unstable personalities may experience LSD-induced 
psychoses." Is that true? 

Leary: In over 3,000 people that I have personally observed 
taking LSD, we've had only 4 cases of prolonged psychoses a 
matter of, say, 2 or 3 weeks after the session. All of these had 
been in a mental hospital before, and they were people who 
could not commit themselves to any stable relationship. And all 
of these people had nothing going in their lives. They were 
drifting or floating, with no home or family or any roots, no 
stable, ongoing life situation to return to. It's dangerous to take 
a trip if you have no internal trust and no external place to turn 
to afterward. 

Playboy: The same New York Medical Society report also 
stated that "normal, well-adjusted persons can undergo an 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 144 

acute psychotic break under the influence of LSD." Is there any 
truth to that? 

Leary: Everyone, normal or neurotic, experiences some fear 
and confusion during the high-dose LSD session. The outcome 
and duration of this confusion depends upon your environment 
and your traveling companions. That's why it's tremendously 
important that the LSD session be conducted in a protected 
place, that the person be prepared and that he have an experi- 
enced and understanding guide to support and shield him from 
intrusion and interruption. When unprepared people take LSD 
in bad surroundings, and when there's no one present who has 
the skill and courage to guide them through it, then paranoid 
episodes are possible. 

Playboy: Will you describe them? 

Leary: There are any number of forms a paranoid episode 
can take. You can find yourself feeling that you've lived most of 
your life in a universe completely of your own, not really 
touching and harmonizing with the flow of the people and the 
energies around you. It seems to you that everyone else, and 
every other organism in creation, is in beatific communion, and 
only you are isolated by your egocentricity. Every action around 
you fits perfectly into this paranoid mosaic. Every glance, every 
look of boredom, every sound, every smile becomes a confirma- 
tion of the fact that everyone knows that you are the only one in 
the universe that's not swinging lovingly and gracefully with 
the rest of the cosmic dance. I've experienced this myself. 

I've also sat with hundreds of people who have been panicked 
because they were trapped at the level of cellular reincarnation, 
where they looked out and saw that their body had scales like a 
fish or felt that they had turned into an animal. And I've sat 
with people who were caught on the electronic level, in that 
eerie, inhuman world of shuttling vibrations. But all these 
episodes can be dealt with easily by an experienced guide who 
recognizes where the LSD tripper is caught. He can bring you 
back down quite simply by holding a candle in front of you, or 
getting you to concentrate on your breathing, or having you lie 
down and getting you to feel your body merging with the 

She Comes in Colors [145 

mattress or the floor. If he understands the map of conscious- 
ness, it's very easy to bring you back to a more recognizable and 
less frightening level. With his help, you'll be able to exult in 
and learn from the experience. 

If he's frightened or uncomprehending, however, or if he acts 
so as to protect his own social interests, your own terror and 
confusion are naturally increased. If he treats you as a psychotic 
rather than as one who is seriously groping with basic problems 
that you should be encouraged to face and work through, you 
may be forced into a psychotic state. Every case of prolonged 
LSD psychosis is the fault not of the drug nor of the drug taker 
but of the people around him who lose their cool and call the 
cops or the doctors. The lesson here is to fear neither LSD nor 
your own psychological nature which is basically okay but to 
fear the diagnosing mind of the psychiatrist. Ninety percent of 
the bad LSD trips are provoked by psychiatric propaganda, 
which creates an atmosphere of fear rather than of courage and 
trust. If the psychiatrists had their way, we'd all be patients. 

Playboy: Speaking of patients, a recent Time essay reported 
that a survey in Los Angeles "showed as many as 200 victims of 
bad trips in the city's hospitals at one time." Does that sound to 
you like a realistic figure? 

Leary: I'd like to know who conducted that survey and 
where they got their figures, because it's contradicted by the 
known facts. I was recently told by the director of a large Cali- 
fornia hospital, which handles LSD cases, that most LSD panic 
subjects are given a tranquilizer and sent home without even 
being admitted. The same is true at Bellevue and throughout 
the country. 

Playboy: In the same essay. Time wrote: "Under the influ- 
ence of LSD, nonswimmers think they can swim, and others 
think they can fly. One young man tried to stop a car on Los 
Angeles' Wilshire Boulevard and was hit and killed. A magazine 
salesman became convinced that he was the Messiah." Are these 
cases, and others like them, representative reactions to LSD, in 
your opinion? 

Leary: I would say that one case in 10,000 is going to flip out 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 146 

and run out into the street and do something bizarre. But these 
are the cases that get reported in the papers. There are 3,000 
Americans who die every year from barbiturates, and it never 
hits the papers. Thousands more die in car crashes and from 
lung cancer induced by smoking. That isn't news, either. But 
one LSD kid rushes out and takes off his clothes in the street 
and it's headlines in the New York Daily News. If one nut who's 
a member of the narcotics squad from the Los Angeles police 
force gets drunk and climbs into an airplane and threatens the 
pilot, that's no reason for grounding all airplanes, calling alco- 
hol illegal, outlawing guns and dissolving the narcotics bureau 
of the Los Angeles Police Force. So one episode out of 10,000 
LSD cases is no reason for any kind of hand wringing and 
grandmotherly panic. 

Playboy: A recent case of this nature involved a young man 
who contended that he killed his mother-in-law while he was on 
LSD. Isn't that a cause for concern? 

Leary: Yes but only because this one episode has led to 
some psychiatrists and police calling LSD a homicidal drug. 
Actually, there's no evidence that that unfortunate boy ever 
took LSD. He was obviously attempting a cop-out when he 
talked to the police about it afterward. 

Playboy: There have also been reports of suicide under the 
influence of LSD. Does this happen? 

Leary: In 23 years of LSD use, there has been one definite 
case of suicide during the LSD session. This was a woman in 
Switzerland who'd been given LSD without her knowledge. She 
thought she was going crazy and jumped out of the window. 
But it wasn't that the LSD poisoned her. The unexpected LSD 
led to such panic and confusion that she killed herself. There 
have been other rumors about LSD panics leading to suicide, 
but I am waiting for the scientific evidence. In more than a 
million LSD cases, there haven't been more than one or two 
documented cases of homicide or suicide attributable to the 
LSD experience. 

Playboy: Though it hasn't led to any reported deaths, a 

She Comes in Colors [ 147 

number o LSD panics have been attributed to the experience 
of many users, in the midst of a session, that they're about to 
have a heart attack. Is this a common occurrence? 

Leary: Fairly common. When somebody says to us in an LSD 
session, "My heart's going to stop!" we say, "Okay, fine. That's a 
new experience, nothing to be afraid of. Let it stop." There is 
no physiological change in your heart, but the experience is 
that the heart is stopping. On LSD, you see, you may actually 
hear the thump of your heartbeat. You become aware of its 
pulsing nerves and muscle fibers straining for the next beat. 
How can they possibly do this over and over again? If you're 
unprepared for it, this can become a terror that it cannot con- 
tinue. Because of LSD's distension of the time dimension, you 
may wait what seems like five hours for the second beat. Then 
you wait again, and you wait, and you are aware of the millions 
of cells that must be tiring out; they may not have the strength 
to beat again. You're afraid that your heart is going to burst. 
Then finally thump! At last! But did it come slower this time? 
Is it stopping? You feel the blood throbbing in your heart. You 
feel the ventricles opening and closing; there's a hole in your 
heart! The blood is flooding your body! You're drowning in 
your own blood! "Help! Get me a doctor!" you may shout. If 
this kind of episode occurs, of course, all that's necessary to allay 
your fears are a few words of understanding and reassurance 
from an experienced guide and companion, who should be with 
you at all times. 

Playboy: Dr. Jonathan Cole, of the National Institute o 
Mental Health, has said that psychedelic drugs "can be dan- 
gerous. . . . People go into panic states in which they are ready 
to jump out of their skins. . . . The benefits are obscure." 
What do you say? 

Leary: Based on the evidence that Dr. Cole has had at hand, 
he is justified in saying that. Dr. Cole undoubtedly has never 
taken LSD himself. He has sponsored research that has been 
done indeed, must be done in mental hospitals, under psy- 
chiatric supervision. But this is the worst possible place to take 
LSD. Take LSD in a nuthouse and you'll have a nuthouse 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 148 

experience. These poor patients are usually not even told what 
drugs they're given; they're not prepared. I consider this psy- 
chological rape. So I'm not surprised that the cases Dr. Cole has 
heard about from his researchers are negative. 

But Dr. Cole doesn't listen to the hundreds of thousands of 
people who have taken LSD under intelligent, aesthetic, care- 
fully planned circumstances and have had their lives changed 
for the better. He doesn't receive the hundred letters a week 
that I receive from people who are profoundly grateful to have 
been dramatically opened up by LSD. He hears only the horror 
stories. If you talk to a mortician, you'll come to the conclusion 
that everyone who is of any importance is dead. If you talk to a 
law-enforcement officer, you'll find that practically everyone is a 
criminal, actual or potential. And if you talk to a psychiatrist, 
you'll hear nothing but gloomy lexicons of psychopathology. 
What Dr. Cole thinks about LSD is irrelevant, because for every 
case that his federal researchers have studied, there are 5,000 
serious-minded, courageous young laymen out in the univer- 
sities and out in the seminaries and in their own homes and on 
the beaches who are taking LSD and having fantastically beauti- 
ful experiences. 

Playboy: Have you allowed or encouraged your children to 
use marijuana and LSD? 

Leary: Yes. I have no objection to them expanding their 
consciousness through the use of sacramental substances in 
accord with their spiritual growth and well-being. At Harvard, 
in Mexico and here at Millbrook, both of my children have 
witnessed more psychedelic sessions than any psychiatrist in the 

Playboy: At most of the psychedelic sessions you've con- 
ducted in the course of research, as you've said elsewhere, you 
and your associates have turned on with your subjects and not 
in the laboratory but on beaches, in meadows, living rooms and 
even Buddhist temples. In the opinion of most authorities, this 
highly unconventional therapeutic technique is not only im- 
practical but irrational and irresponsible. How do you justify it? 

Leary: This sort of criticism has ruined my reputation in 

She Comes in Colors [ 149 

conventional research circles, but it simply betrays ignorance of 
the way LSD works. You have to take it with your patient or at 
least to have taken it yourself in order to empathize with and 
follow him as he goes from one level to another. If the therapist 
has never taken it, he's sitting there with his sticky molasses 
Freudian psychiatric chessboard attempting to explain experi- 
ences that are far beyond the narrow limits of that particular 

Playboy: You've also been criticized for being insufficiently 
selective in the screening of subjects to whom you've adminis- 
tered LSD. 

Leary: We have been willing and eager to run LSD sessions 
with anyone in any place that made collaborative sense to me 
and the subject. We've never given LSD to anyone for our own 
selfish purposes, or for selfish purposes of his own, but if any 
reasonably stable individual wanted to develop his own con- 
sciousness, we turned him on. This ruined our reputation with 
scientists, of course, but it also made possible a fantastically 
successful record: 99 percent of the people who took LSD with 
us had fabulous experiences. None of our subjects flipped out 
and went to Bellevue; they walked out of the session room with 
messianic gleams in their eyes. 

Playboy: Even if only one percent of your subjects had bad 
experiences, is it worth the risk? 

Leary: That question can be answered only by the indi- 
vidual. When men set out for Plymouth in a leaky boat to 
pursue a new spiritual way of life, of course they were taking 
risks. But the risks of the voyage were less than the risks of 
remaining in a spiritual plague area, immobilized from the 
possibility of change by their fears of taking a risk. No govern- 
ment bureau or Big Brother doctor can be allowed to decide 
who is going to take the risks involved in this twentieth-century 
voyage of spiritual discovery. 

Playboy: Yet restrictive and prohibitive laws against the use 
of LSD have already been passed in California, Nevada and 
New Jersey, and several members of Congress have urged fed- 
eral legislation outlawing its manufacture or possession. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 150 

Leary: Such laws are unrealistic and unconstitutional. Over 
15 percent of college students are currently using LSD. Do the 
hard-arteried politicians and police types really want to put our 
brightest and most creative youngsters in prison for possession 
of a colorless, odorless, tasteless, nonaddictive, mind-opening 
substance? Irrational, senile legislation preventing people from 
pursuing private, intimate experiences sexual or spiritual 
cannot and will not be obeyed. We are currently planning to 
appeal any conviction for possession of LSD on constitutional 
grounds. But the federal government is opposed to laws penaliz- 
ing possession of LSD because it recognizes the impossibility of 
enforcement and the unconstitutionality of such statutes. Of 
course, this ambiguous situation is temporary. In 15 years, the 
bright kids who are turning on now will be shaping public 
opinion, writing our novels, running our universities and re- 
pealing the hysterical laws that are now being passed. 

Playboy: In what way are they hysterical? 

Leary: They're hysterical because the men who are passing 
them have allowed their ignorance of LSD to escalate into 
irrationality. Instinctively they put LSD in the same bag with 
heroin. They think of drug taking as a criminal activity prac- 
ticed by stuporous escapists and crazed, deranged minds. The 
daily diatribes of police officials and many legislators to that 
effect completely ignore the fact that the use of LSD is a white- 
collar, upper-middle-class, college-educated phenomenon. The 
LSD user is not a criminal type. He's not an underground 
character or a junkie. He doesn't seek to hide or to apologize for 
his activities. But while more and more laws are being passed 
restricting these activities, more and more people are engaging 
in them. LSD is being manufactured by people in their own 
homes and in small laboratories. If this continues, in ten years 
the LSD group will constitute one of our largest minorities. 
Then what are the lawmakers going to do? 

Playboy: What should they do, in your opinion? 

Leary: As they learn more about LSD, I think I hope they 
will recognize that there will have to be special legislation. 
There should be laws about the manufacture of LSD. It is an 

She Comes in Colors [ 151 

incredibly powerful drug. It is not a narcotic and not a medical 
drug; it doesn't cure any illness. It is a new form of energy. Just 
as a new form of legislation had to be developed for radioactive 
isotopes, so will there need to be something comparable for 
LSD. And I think some LSD equivalent of the Atomic Energy 
Commission and some special licensing procedures should be set 
up to deal with this new class of drugs. 

Playboy: What sort of procedures would you recommend? 

Leary: You can't legalize and control manufacture until 
you've worked out a constructive way of licensing or authoriz- 
ing possession. There are many individuals who should be 
provided with a legitimate access to chemicals that expand their 
minds. If we don't do this, we'll have a free market or a black 
market. During Prohibition, when alcohol was prohibited, it 
was suppressed; then you had bathtub gin and bootleg poisons 
of all sorts. The government received no taxes and the con- 
sumer had no guarantee that what he was buying was safe and 
effective. But if marijuana and LSD were put under some form 
of licensing where responsible, serious-minded people could 
purchase these chemicals, then the manufacture could be super- 
vised and the sales could be both regulated and taxed. A healthy 
and profitable situation would result for all involved. 

Playboy: How would a person demonstrate his responsibility 
and serious-mindedness in applying for a license? 

Leary: The criteria for licensing the use of mild psychedelics 
like marijuana should be similar to those for the automobile 
license. The applicant would demonstrate his seriousness by 
studying manuals, passing written tests and getting a doctor's 
certificate of psychological and physical soundness. The licensing 
for use of powerful psychedelic drugs like LSD should be along 
the lines of the airplane pilot's license: intensive study and 
preparation, plus very stringent testing for fitness and com- 

Playboy: What criteria would you use for determining fit- 
ness and competence? 

Leary: No one has the right to tell anyone else what he 
should or should not do with this great and last frontier of 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 152 

freedom. I think that anyone who wants to have a psychedelic 
experience and is willing to prepare for it and to examine his 
own hang-ups and neurotic tendencies should be allowed to 
have a crack at it. 

Playboy: Have you had the opportunity to present this plan 
to the Federal Narcotics Bureau? 

Leary: I would be most happy to, but the Narcotics people 
don't want any sort of objective, equal-play consideration of 
these issues. When anyone suggests the heretical notion that 
LSD be made available to young people or even hints, let us say, 
at the necessity for scientific evaluation of marijuana, he is 
immediately labeled as a dangerous fanatic and is likely to be 
investigated. This certainly has been demonstrated by reactions 
of people asked to contribute to my legal defense fund. There 
are hundreds who have contributed but who realistically cannot 
afEord to have their names involved in such a case, because they 
believe public identity may lead to investigatory persecution. 

Playboy is among the rare institutions that will tackle an 
issue of this sort. There is an enormous amount of peripheral 
harassment. . . . This issue has generated so much hysteria 
that the normal processes of democratic debate are consistently 
violated. When several million Americans can't have their 
voices heard and can't get objective and scientific consideration 
of their position, I think that the Constitution is in danger. 

Playboy: There are some who see the appeal of your convic- 
tion in Laredo as a step leading to legalization of marijuana. Do 
you think that's possible? 

Leary: If I win my case in the higher courts and my lawyers 
believe I will this will have wide implications. It will suggest 
that future arrests for marijuana must be judged on the merits 
of the individual case rather than a blanket, arbitrary imple- 
mentation of irrational and excessive regulation. I consider the 
marijuana laws to be unjust laws. My 30-year sentence and 
$30,000 fine simply pointed up in a rather public way the 
severity and harshness of the current statutes, which are clearly 
in violation of several amendments to the Constitution. 

Playboy: Which amendments? 

She Comes in Colors [ 153 

Leary: The First Amendment, which guarantees the right of 
spiritual exploration, and the Fifth Amendment, which guaran- 
tees immunity from self-incrimination. The fact that I'm being 
imprisoned for not paying a tax on a substance that, if I had 
applied for a license, would have led to my automatic arrest, is 
clearly self-incrimination. The current marijuana statutes are 
also in violation of the Eighth Amendment, which forbids cruel 
and unusual punishments, and of the Ninth Amendment, 
which guarantees certain personal liberties not specifically 
enumerated in the other amendments. 

Playboy: The implications of your arrest and conviction in 
Laredo were still being debated when the police raided your 
establishment here in Millbrook. We've read several different 
versions of just what took place that night. Will you give us a 
step-by-step account? 

Leary: Gladly. On Saturday, April 16th, there were present 
at our center in Millbrook 29 adults and 12 children. Among 
them were 3 Ph.D. psychologists, 1 M.D. psychiatrist, 3 physi- 
cists, 5 journalists on professional assignments and 3 photog- 
raphers. At 1:30 A.M., all but 3 guests had retired. I was in bed. 
My son and a friend of his were in the room talking to me about 
a term paper that my son was writing. We heard a noise outside 
in the hallway. My son opened the door, slammed it and said, 
"Wow, Dad, there's about 50 cops out there!" I jumped out of 
bed and was in the middle of the room when the door burst 
open and 2 uniformed sheriffs and 2 assistant district attorneys 
marched in and told me not to move. I was wearing only 
pa jama tops. 

One of the sheriff's statements to the press was that the 
raiding party discovered most of the occupants in the house in a 
state of semiundr ess which sounds pretty lurid until you real- 
ize that almost everyone in the house was in bed asleep at the 
time of the raid. After the initial shock of finding armed and 
uniformed men in our bedrooms, all of my guests reacted with 
patience, humor and tolerance to five hours of captivity. The 
members of the raiding party, on the other hand, were ex- 
tremely nervous. It's obvious that they had in mind some James 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 154 

Bond fantasy of invading the oriental headquarters of some 
sexual SMERSH, and they were extremely jumpy as they went 
about their search of the entire house. One interesting aspect of 
the raid was that all of the women present were stripped and 

Playboy: Did anyone object? 

Leary: We objected to everything that was being done, 
including the fact that we could not have a lawyer present. 

Playboy: What did the police find during the search? 

Leary: After a 5-hour search, they arrested 4 people: a 
photographer here on a professional assignment, and a Hindu 
holy man and his wife all of whom they alleged had marijuana 
in their possession and myself. There was no claim that I had 
any marijuana in my possession or control; the charge involved 
my being the director of the house. 

Playboy: Did they have a warrant? 

Leary: They had a warrant, but we claim it was defective 
and illegal. 

Playboy: In what way? 

Leary: In the Bill of Rights it clearly states that the govern- 
ment cannot just swear out a warrant to go into anyone's house 
on general suspicion and speculation. Specifically, a search war- 
rant can be issued only on the basis of tangible evidence, usually 
from an informer, that a specific amount of defined, illegal 
substance is present at a certain place and time. There was no 
such probable cause for the raid at Millbrook. Among the 
**causes" cited was that cars with out-of-state licenses were 
parked in my driveway, and that girls under the age of sixteen 
were playing around the yard on a certain day when it was 
under surveillance. 

Playboy: How would that be a cause? 

Leary: How, indeed? Another alleged "cause" for the raid 
was that I am "a known and admitted trafficker in drugs." Well, 
none of these espionage reports seem to me or to my lawyers 
to justify the issuance of a no-knock, nighttime warrant that 
authorized the breaking of windows and doors to obtain entry 
to a private house. 

She Comes in Colors [ 155 

Playboy: What is the current status of the charges against 

Leary: We are now involved in nine pieces of litigation on 
this raid. The American Civil Liberties Union has entered the 
case with a supporting brief, and while I can't comment on the 
technicalities of the litigation, we have a large group of bright 
young turned-on civil libertarian lawyers walking around with 
smiles on their faces. 

Playboy: Do you mean that your lawyers are on LSD? 

Leary: I don't feel I should comment on that. Let me say, 
however, that you don't need to use anything to be turned on, 
in the sense that you've tuned in to the world. 

Playboy: Dr. Humphrey Osmond of the New Jersey Neuro- 
psychiatric Institute the man who coined the word "psyche- 
delic" has described you as "Irish and revolutionary, and to a 
good degree reckless." He was suggesting that if you had been 
more careful, you might not have been arrested in Laredo or 

Leary: I plead guilty to the charges of being an Irishman 
and a revolutionary. But I don't think I'm careless about any- 
thing that's important. 

Playboy: Wasn't it careless to risk the loss of your freedom 
by carrying a half ounce of marijuana into Mexico? 

Leary: Well, that's like saying, wouldn't it be careless for a 
Christian to carry the Bible to Russia? I just can't be bothered 
with paranoias about wiretapping, surveillance and police traps. 
It's been well known for several years that I'm using psychedelic 
drugs in my own home and in my own center for the use of 
myself and my own family. So at any time the government 
wanted to make an issue of this, it certainly could. But I can't 
live my life in secrecy or panic paranoia. I've never bothered to 
take a lot of elementary precautions, for example, about my 
phone being bugged or my actions being under surveillance 
both of which the police admit. I would say that if there was 
carelessness in Laredo, it was carelessness on the part of the 
government officials in provoking a case that has already 
changed public attitudes and will inevitably change the law on 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 156 

the possession and use of marijuana by thoughtful adults in this 
country. The Narcotics Bureau is in trouble. I'm not. 

Playboy: But suppose all appeals fail and you do go to 
prison. What will happen to your children and to your work? 

Leary: My children will continue to grow externally and 
internally and they and all of my friends and colleagues will 
continue to communicate what they've learned to a world that 
certainly needs such lessons. As to where and how they will live, 
I can't predict. 

Playboy: Have you made any provision for their financial 

Leary: At the present time I'm $40,000 in debt for legal 
expenses, and I have made no provisions for eating lunch to- 
morrow. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. 

Playboy: Do you dread the prospect of imprisonment? 

Leary: Well, I belong to one of the oldest trade unions in 
human civilization the alchemists of the mind, the scholars of 
consciousness. The threat of imprisonment is the number-one 
occupational hazard of my profession. Of the great men of the 
past whom I hold up as models, almost every one of them has 
been either imprisoned or threatened with imprisonment for 
their spiritual beliefs: Gandhi, Jesus, Socrates, Lao-tse. I have 
absolutely no fear of imprisonment. First of all, I've taken LSD 
over 40 times in a maximum-security prison as part of a convict 
rehabilitation project we did in Boston, so I know that the only 
real prisons are internal. Secondly, a man who feels no guilt 
about his behavior has no fear of imprisonment; I have not one 
shred of guilt about anything I've done in the last 6 years. I've 
made hundreds of mistakes, but I've never once violated my 
own ethical or moral values. I'm the freest man in America 
today. If you're free in mind and heart, you're not in trouble. I 
think that the people who are trying to put other people in jail 
and to control basic evolutionary energies like sex and psyche- 
delic chemicals are in trouble, because they're swimming up- 
stream against the two-billion-year tide of cellular evolution. 

Playboy: What would you say is the most important lesson 
you've learned from your personal use of LSD? 

She Comes in Colors [ 157 

Leary: First and last, the understanding that basic to the life 
impulse is the question, should we go on with life? This is the 
only real issue, when you come down to it, in the evolutionary 
cosmic sense: whether to make it with a member of the opposite 
sex and keep it going or not to. At the deepest level of 
consciousness, this question comes up over and over again. I've 
struggled with it in scores of LSD sessions. How did we get here 
and into this mess? How do we get out? There are two ways out 
of the basic philosophic isolation of man: You can ball your way 
out by having children, which is immortality of a sort. Or you 
can step off the wheel. Buddhism, the most powerful psychology 
that man has ever developed, says essentially that. My choice, 
however, is to keep the life game going. I'm Hindu, not Bud- 

Beyond this affirmation of my own life, I've learned to con- 
fine my attention to the philosophic questions that hit on the 
really shrieking, crucial issues: Who wrote the cosmic script? 
What does the DNA code expect of me? Is the big genetic-code 
show live or on tape? Who is the sponsor? Are we completely 
trapped inside our nervous systems, or can we make real contact 
with anyone else out there? I intend to spend the rest of my life, 
with psychedelic help, searching for the answers to these ques- 
tionsand encouraging others to do the same. 

Playboy: What role do you think psychedelics will play in 
the everyday life of the future? 

Leary: A starring role. LSD is only the first of many new 
chemicals that will exhilarate learning, expand consciousness 
and enhance memory in years to come. These chemicals will 
inevitably revolutionize our procedures of education, child 
rearing and social behavior. Within one generation these 
chemical keys to the nervous system will be used as regular tools 
of learning. You will be asking your children, when they come 
home from school, not "What book are you reading?" but 
"Which molecules are you using to open up new Libraries of 
Congress inside your nervous system?" There's no doubt that 
chemicals will be the central method of education in the future. 
The reason for this, of course, is that the nervous system, and 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 158 

learning and memory itself, is a chemical process. A society in 
which a large percentage of the population changes conscious- 
ness regularly and harmoniously with psychedelic drugs will 
bring about a very different way of life. 

Playboy: Will there be a day, as some science fiction writers 
predict, when people will be taking trips, rather than drinks, at 
psychedelic cocktail parties? 

Leary: It's happening already. In this country, there are 
already functions at which LSD may be served. I was at a large 
dance recently where two-thirds of the guests were on LSD. And 
during a scholarly LSD conference in San Francisco a few 
months ago, I went along with 400 people on a picnic at which 
almost everyone turned on with LSD. It was very serene. They 
were like a herd of deer in the forest. 

In years to come, it will be possible to have a lunch-hour 
psychedelic session; in a limited way, that can be done now with 
DMT, which has a very fast action, lasting perhaps a half hour. 
It may be that there will also be large reservations of maybe 30 
or 40 square miles, where people will go to have LSD sessions in 
tranquil privacy. 

Playboy: Will the psychedelic experience become universal? 
Will everyone be turned on? 

Leary: Well, not all the time. There will always be some 
functions that require a narrow form of consciousness. You 
don't want your airplane pilot flying higher than the plane and 
having Buddhist revelations in the cockpit. Just as you don't 
play golf on Times Square, you won't want to take LSD where 
narrow, symbol-manipulating attention is required. In a sophis- 
ticated way, you'll attune the desired level of consciousness to 
the particular surrounding that will feed and nourish you. 

No one will commit his life to any single level of conscious- 
ness. Sensible use of the nervous system would suggest that a 
quarter of our time will be spent in symbolic activities produc- 
ing and communicating in conventional, tribal ways. But the 
fully conscious life schedule will also allow considerable time- 
perhaps an hour or two a day devoted to the yoga of the senses, 
to the enhancement of sensual ecstasies through marijuana and 

She Comes in Colors [ 159 

hashish, and one day a week to completely moving outside the 
sensory and symbolic dimensions into the transcendental realms 
that are open to you through LSD. This is not science fiction 
fantasy. I have lived most of the last six years until the recent 
unpleasantness doing exactly that: taking LSD once a week 
and smoking marijuana once a day. 

Playboy: How will this psychedelic regimen enrich human 

Leary: It will enable each person to realize that he is not a 
game-playing robot put on this planet to be given a Social 
Security number and to be spun on the assembly line of school, 
college, career, insurance, funeral, good-bye. Through LSD, 
each human being will be taught to understand that the entire 
history of evolution is recorded inside his body; the challenge of 
the complete human life will be for each person to recapitulate 
and experientially explore every aspect and vicissitude of this 
ancient and majestic wilderness. Each person will become his 
own Buddha, his own Einstein, his own Galileo. Instead of 
relying on canned, static, dead knowledge passed on from other 
symbol producers, he will be using his span of 80 or so years 
on this planet to live out every possibility of the human, 
prehuman and even subhuman adventure. As more respect and 
time are diverted to these explorations, he will be less hung up 
on trivial, external pastimes. And this may be the natural solu- 
tion to the problem of leisure. When all of the heavy work and 
mental drudgery is taken over by machines, what are we going 
to do with ourselves build even bigger machines? The obvious 
and only answer to this peculiar dilemma is that man is going to 
have to explore the infinity of inner space, to discover the terror 
and adventure and ecstasy that lie within us all. 


Drop Out or Cop Out 

It's always been that way, and it will always be that way. There 
are two societies, two symbiotic cultures uneasily sharing this 
planet, two intertwined human structures, mirror-imaged like 
root and branch. The overground and the underground. The 
drop-outs and the cop-outs. 

There is the visible establishment officious, federal, rational, 
organized, uniformed, at times grim, at times smug in its 
apparent control of external power metal, machines, weapons. 
The cop-outs. The cops. 

And there is the drop-out underground loose, sloppy, fool- 
ish, tenacious, private, at times joyous, at times paranoid. Pro- 
tected by its camouflage, conspiratorial laughter, the knowing 
glance, the facade of poverty, long hair, out-of -fashion dress, the 
covert subtle gesture, the double meaning, sustained by its 
access to inner power touch, taste, sensual connections, laugh- 
ter, smell, moist contact, ecstasy. 

The external power structure is forever rent by struggles for 
material control, national rivalries, economic competition, 
political conflicts, ideologies of might. The boring battles of 
generals and politicians. The CIA versus the FBI. 

The underground society is also divided on the basis of 
somatic, domestic, sensory, erotic, ritual, chemical preferences. 
The battles of clans and cults. Of magicians and saints. 

This ancient duality has reached an evolutionary crisis point 
today. To see what's happening (and it's never reported in the 
papers) , you have to be aware of this overground-underground 

[ 160 

Drop Out or Cop Out [ 161 

ballet. But to see it, you have to be underground. The over- 
ground establishment today just can't see what's happening, 
can't accept the dedicated, enduring, inevitable existence of the 
underground. LBJ has no logical, rational categories to deal 
with the apolitical smile. The soft chuckle which comes from 
neither the left nor the right but some center within. 

In earlier, wiser times this struggle was clearly recognized as 
the essential battle between God and the devil, in which the 
devil (who is always he who controls the external power) 
systematically switches the labels (for obvious tactical reasons) 
and calls the static, regulated, dry, grim, humorless, destructive 
antilife good and the free, ecstatic, sensual, moist, funny, joyous 
BAD. This doesn't fool the turned-on undergrounders, who are 
hip to the fact that God is a singing, swinging energy process 
who likes to laugh and make love and burrow, murmuring, 

The underground is always aware of the existence and reflex 
responses of the overground. Survival in the underground de- 
pends on your ability to anticipate the movements of external 
power. It's always been a capital crime to laugh, make love, and 
turn on barefoot in front of whitey's house, and these are the 
endemic, chronic crimes of the giggling young, the colored, the 
artists and the visionaries. 

The structure of the overground is always obsessively and 
specifically organized. Read the rule books and directories. 
Today the whole freaky social structure is listed alphabetically 
in the yellow pages of the phone book. Read the section sol- 
emnly listing the local offices of the U.S. government, for 
example. Isn't that weird? 

The structure of the underground is equally explicit and 
obvious to those in the know, but this knowledge is experiental, 
whispered, word-of-mouth, friend to friend and rarely written 
down. Can you write down a good joke? The telephone direc- 
tory has no listing for the soft essences, the chemical secretions 
of life, love goddesses, alchemists, ecstasy drugs, astrologers, 
religious experiences, prophetic visions, fun, laughter, wry 
humor, the warm hand that slips under your pretenses and 

The Politics of Ecstasy [162 

touches you in exactly the right place. Where are these classi- 

The underground is always composed of the "outs,** those 
who are alienated from the establishment power centers in- 
voluntarily by deprivation or voluntarily by aesthetic-religious 
choice. The young, the poor, the racially rejected, the articu- 
lately sensitive, the spiritually turned on are curious, sensual, 
ecstatic, erotic, shameless, free, mischievous, rebellious, intui- 
tive, humorous, playful, spiritual. Adults, the middle class, the 
cops, the government men, the educators, those people listed in 
the yellow pages, are not. No funny business here; this is 

In the past the polar tension between the two societies was 
balanced by the slow ebb-and-flow tide of history. Underground 
pressure builds up gradually over decades. An ecstatic upheaval 
from below Christ, Buddha, Mohammed then slowly a new 
hierarchy emerges. The glue which held the creaky network of 
society together in the past was the biological fact of matura- 
tion. Social movements come and go, but the kids grew up to be 
adults like their parents. Underground kids became under- 
ground adults, gypsies, Jews, hustlers, and artists. Middle-class 
kids become middle-class adults. 

What is new and fascinating about the current upheaval is 
this incredible fact: the kids today are different. They won't 
grow up like Mom and Dad. This is not a sociological trend. It's 
an evolutionary lurch. The generation gap is a species muta- 
tion. Electronics and psychedelics have shattered the sequence 
of orderly linear identification, the automatic imitation that 
provides racial and social continuity. The kids today just won't 
grow up to be like their parents. They are pulsating television 
grids. They move consciousness around by switching channel 
knobs. Tune in. Tune out. Flick on. Correct image focus. 
Adjust brightness. 

Technology moves energy patterns at the speed of light, and 
psychochemicals accelerate and switch consciousness in exact 
proportions to nuclear power and electric circuitry. Your head is 
the cosmic TV show, baby. Alcohol turns oflE the brightness. 

Drop Out or Cop Out [ 163 

methadrine jiggles and speeds up the image, LSD flips on 87 
channels at once, pot adds color, meditation, mantras, prayer, 
mudras sharpen the focus. It's your head, baby, and it's 2 billion 
years old, and it's got every control switch that GE and IBM 
ever thought of and a million more, and it's hooked up in direct 
connection to Central Broadcasting Station WDNA, and you 
had better learn to treasure it now, because it's planned by the 
Great Cartel Monopoly Benevolent Corporation, blueprint de- 
signer for planned obsolescence every 70 years, and there's no 
rewind and/ or instant replay, baby, so turn on, tune in, drop 
out now! 

Consider (as case history illustration) what happened to me 
yesterday. During the afternoon, voices hurtled at the speed of 
light up to the third floor at Millbrook from a West German 
TV producer, from a Japanese TV producer, asking to film the 
psychedelic scene at Millbrook. We had a dozen long-distance 
phone calls from people who tuned in last week to the nation- 
wide program televised at Millbrook. An LSD baby was born to 
a couple living on the second floor Negro mother, white father. 
At moonrise a new tepee, lined for winter living, was inaugu- 
rated at the camp of the League for Spiritual Discovery . . . 
fire crackling . . . scent of incense, pine branches, marijuana 
. . . 15 high people holding hands in a circle and chanting 
. . . the play of shadows on the white cone wall. 

Before midnight a fifteen-year-old girl on an acid trip in 
Seattle phoned, requesting a copy of the league manual How to 
Start Your Own Religion. After midnight a college kid from 
Wisconsin phoned requesting help on a bad trip. At S a.m. my 
eighteen-year-old son Jack phoned from San Francisco. He had 
taken 1,000 gamma of LSD along with 1,500 other kids at a 
psychedelic ballroom . . . Owsley's free sacrament . . . 
psychedelic lights . . . acid rock 'n' roll. He stated quietly that 
he was illuminated. None of the parents' manuals tell you what 
to say when your kid announces he has done the Buddha bit, 
attained satori. Our sons aren't supposed to become Christ or 
Lao-tse, are they? 

I said, "You're illuminated. Now what?" 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 164 

Without a second's hesitation, he replied, "Now I illuminate." 
Wow! What manual is he reading? He had seen everything. 
How it all fitted together. All is one. He had been given $17,000 
by a teen-age love commune in L.A. to buy acid in San Fran- 
cisco. Under LSD he had pulled a thousand-dollar bill out of his 
pocket and meditated and then burned it. The parents* maga- 
zines don't tell you what to say when your son tells you that he's 
burned a thousand-dollar bill because money is a paper illusion. 
Turn on, tune in, drop out, said Dr. Timothy Leary to the 
younger generation. Did I really say that? 

Now I am standing, shivering, talking into the hall phone at 
three o'clock in the morning, holding the. psychedelic prayer 
book I wrote in my hand, but it's useless because this son of 
mine with dilated pupils is 3,000 miles beyond me and is far 
wiser than any bible ever written by old men, read and recited 
by the sleepy, shivering, harassed father of two teen-age kids 
who have blown their minds with acid and talk quietly about 
Nirvana and illusion and the mind trip and the boring, repe- 
titious hypocrisy of adult games. ("Daddy, please don't make 
me go back to the tired old game," said my daughter Susan after 
the hashish party in Hollywood.) I am the bewildered father of 
two unprepared kids who have experienced more than Buddha 
and Einstein and are floating with their generation out beyond 
my comprehension, and I may well be one of the wisest men 
ever born before 1945. 

Listen, when I was a forty-year-old smart-aleck atheist Har- 
vard professor and renowned research psychologist, illumi- 
nation to me meant electric lighting, and consciousness was just 
the opposite of what poor Freud talked about. And I've taken 
LSD as much as and studied it more than anyone around, and 
I'm still left behind, carrying on my shivering shoulders at three 
o'clock in the morning the grief and bewilderment of every 
parent whose teen-age children are mutating through acid 
(lysergic and nucleic) up to a higher level of existence. I can't 
give my beautiful, wise, turned-on son any logical reason why 
he shouldn't burn a thousand-dollar bill. And if you think you 

Drop Out or Cop Out [ 165 

can, fellow parents, you just don't understand the problem 
which the Buddha saw and the DNA codes and which your kids 
are facing in psychedelic-electronic 1968. 

Then I talked to the young man from L.A. whose thousand- 
dollar bill had been burned. 

**How is Jack?" 

"He's beautiful!" 

I said, "My son is far out?" Pause. 

"No. He's a Taoist kid. He's one with the flow. You worry 
him with your worries. Trust him. He loves you." The young 
man didn't even mention the loss of the money, and when I 
asked him about it he said, "Well I've always wanted to burn 
a thousand-dollar bill. Hasn't everybody?" And this from a 
twenty-two-year-old who lives with his wife and two kids in a 
small house on $200 a month. I had trouble going back to 

You see, don't you, that you learn nothing about the psyche- 
delic underground and the electronic generation from the 
establishment press? Hippy is an establishment label for a 
profound, invisible, underground, evolutionary process. For 
every visible hippy, barefoot, beflowered, beaded, there are a 
thousand invisible members of the turned-on underground. 
Persons whose lives are tuned in to their inner vision, who are 
dropping out of the TV comedy of American life. 

Fellow parents, if you have kids between the ages of eleven 
and twenty-five, chances are you've got the underground work- 
ing in your own home. "What!" you say. "Horrors! One of our 
kids a secret hippy? What shall we do? Phone a psychiatrist? 
Read them the riot act? Call the police?" No. This time, let's try 
an experiment in listening. Let's initiate an intergeneration 
probe of peace and trust. Find the member of the underground 
nearest you your own child, or your niece, or the boy next 
door and consider him for an hour or two as a friendly ambassa- 
dor sent to you from the world of the future. Listen to him. 

Another way is to tune into the communication channels that 
carry the underground message. Read their newspapers. Every 
city in the country has its underground paper serving its young 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 166 

readers with the news they want and advertising the commodi- 
ties they want in the language they understand. Read the East 
Village Other, the Oracle of San Francisco or the Oracle of Los 
Angeles, or read any college newspaper that is relatively free of 
faculty control. You'll be amazed at the consistency and sophis- 
tication of the new philosophy. 

Listen to their music. The rock 'n' roll bands are the philoso- 
pher-poets of the new religion. Their beat is the pulse of the 
future. The message from Liverpool is the Newest Testament, 
chanted by four Evangelists saints John, Paul, George and 
Ringo. Pure Vedanta, divine revelation, gentle, tender irony at 
the insanities of war and politics, sorrowful lament for the 
bourgeois loneliness, delicate hymns of glory to God. And the 
humor, the sharp, sincere satire of the "put-on," the mild 
mocking of the pompous, even of one's own inevitable pom- 
posity, even of the ridiculousness of teen-age rock stars becom- 
ing holy men, and that's what they really are. 

The "put-on," the soft-sell, the double-meaning, easy, re- 
laxed, laughing flow with the Tao stream of life that's what 
makes it hard to understand these kids. Our older generation 
has been enslaved by a heavy, melodramatic view of life. Pitiful 
Shakespeare! All those grim, suffering, ham-actor heroes sweat- 
ing out the failure of ambition, the torments of jealousy, the 
agony of wounded pride, the passions of unrequited love. The 
Western world has been on a bad trip, a 400-year bummer. War 
heroics. Guilt. Puritan ethics, grim, serious, selfish, striving. 
Remember, Mom and Dad, the songs of our youth? The blues. 
The Stratford-on-Avon masochistic ragtime laments of Tin Pan 
Alley? Well, that's all over now. Daddy and Mamma Blue. The 
atom bomb and the electronic flash and the ecstasy drugs have 
held up a million mocking mirrors to that struggling, bloody, 
self-pitying, self-indulgent, noble, lonely, martyred stage-TV 
hero who is you, Mr. and Mrs. America, and that's how your 
turned-on kids see you and why they sorrow for you and wait to 
turn you on. 

But to learn the lesson from your kids, you've got to groove 
with their electronic-fluid timeless point of view, which is both 

Drop Out or Cop Out [ 167 

the newest and the oldest human philosophy, and accept their 
up-revision of Shakespeare in which Juliet's sleeping potion 
becomes a turn-on sacramental love elixir and Romeo took it 
with her in the tomb and they laughed in ecstatic revelation 
and pity at that old posturing Montague-Capulet hang-up, and 
they split together from Verona and opened a lute shop in 
Rome and stayed high forever after. And then Lady Bird 
Macbeth built a fire and lit a candle and some incense and put a 
tender chant on the stereo and rolled a joint of Scotch Broom, 
and she and Macbeth sat looking into the dancing flame and got 
soft and high and saw how foolish it was to struggle for the 
throne and dissolved into love for each other and for their rivals 
and prayed for them. 

Above all, to get the message of the future, sit down with a 
youngster and relax and tune in to the new theme. You'll be shy 
and awkward. Your kid may be, too. That's natural. But stay 
with it and keep serene. Maybe your dialogue will start in- 
directly by listening together. The best way for any parent to 
dissolve fear and develop trust in the youngsters is to get the 
Beatles' "Sergeant Pepper" album or the Rolling Stones' "Sata- 
tanic Majesties" and take it humbly to a kid and say, "I've 
heard that there's an important message in this record, but I 
need it explained to me. Will you talk to me about the Stones 
and Beatles?" And then get very comfortable and close your eyes 
and listen to the sermon from Liverpool (it could just as well 
be Donovan or Dylan or the Jefferson Airplane) and learn that 
it's the oldest message of love and peace and laughter, and trust 
in God and don't worry, trust in the future, and don't fight; and 
trust in your kids, and don't worry because it's all beautiful and 


Hormonal Politics: The Menopausal 
Left-Right and the Seed Center 

The political spectrum which has colored social attitudes for the 
past 300 years has decreasing relevance today and by 1980 will 
have no political meaning. 

Left-Right. Liberal-Conservative. Radical-Reactionary. Com- 
munist-Capitalist. Democratic-Republican. Whig-Tory. Labor- 
Management. White-Colored. Brooklyn Dodgers. Twenty-three 

The crucial variable in today's political equation is age. The 
basic areas which now divide men are hormonal. The key ques- 
tion to ask a candidate for office or indeed, any person seeking 
to influence public opinion has nothing to do with Vietnam or 
Marx or John Birch. The issue which determines who will be 
elected, who will be listened to, is: How much time did you 
spend making love last week? 

Political experts puzzle over the results of recent elections, 
seeking in vain to find the left-right trend. But one single and 
simple clue will account, in almost every case, for the surprises 
and shifts in voting. Age. Can you think of an election return in 
the last two years which found a potent, seed-carrying candidate 
defeated by an oldster? 

The Kennedy strategy board understands this secret. So do 
Lindsay and Rockefeller. 

War? Peace? Taxes? Race? Nope. Wrinkles. 

The Republican party is making a comeback? Nope. They 

[ 168 

VOL.1 NO. 9 

APRIL 1-15 



looked m the rve* <>( tlw 

"- ing <rouMtr3 ' ' " Swcretirv of State w p'kig notWi 


If. 5-77( 

"America Hates Her Crazies" Front page of the 
East Village Other (Aprii 1-15, 1966). 

"Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop In" Front page of 
Berkeley Barb {Sept 1-7, 1969). 

Hormonal Politics: The Menopausal Left-Right [ 169 

have been out. Paunchy, jowled Democrats are getting old in 
office. Outs tend to run younger candidates. 

But the Republicans have failed to capitalize completely on 
this relentless biological advantage because candidate choice is 
still determined by the most senile members of the Grand Old 
(sic) Party. Does anyone doubt that young, virile, baby- 
begetting Rockefeller could have won in 1960 and then in 1964 
if the GOP had run him? Does anyone doubt that the Republi- 
cans would win in 1968 if they nominated Percy or Lindsay or 
even new-father Rocky? 

This power of hormones in the body politic will steadily 
increase in the next decade until it becomes the only issue in 
the 1970's. The current revolution is not economic or religious; 
it is biological. 

Human beings born after the year 1943 belong to a different 
species from their progenitors. Three new energies, exactly 
symmetrical and complementary atomics, electronics, and psy- 
chedelics have produced an evolutionary mutation. The re- 
lease of atomic energy placed the mysterious basic power of the 
universe in man's hands. The frailty of the visible. The power 
of the invisible. Electronic impulses link the globe in an instan- 
taneous communication network. The circuited unity of man. 
Psychedelic drugs release internal energy and speed conscious- 
ness in the same exponential proportions as nuclear and elec- 
tronic space-time expansions. 

Our children were born and have developed in a civilization 
as far removed from that of their parents as Des Moines, Iowa, is 
from ancient Carthage. How few parents realized when they 
quieted their noisy kids by banishing them to the TV room that 
they were turning on the little ones to a mind-blowing elec- 
tronic experience. Kiddies flicking the TV knobs. Switch on the 
news . . . LBJ talking . . . hard sell . . . switch him off 
. . . Channel 9 . . . cereal commercial, hard sell . . . switch 
it off . . . Channel 3 . . . Super boy . . . A-OK. Movement. 
Change. Flashing images. Simultaneity. Multiple choice. And 
always the hard sell, the come-on promise, and the kids watch- 
ing warily, catching on to LBJ's pitch and the Corn Flakes 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 170 

pitch, the disillusioning insight through the game facade to the 
inner essence. The inevitable development of the cool psy- 
chology. The hip one who deals with the continual inundation 
of shifting images, multiplicity of channels, the bending of 
space-time . . . Apollo rockets . . . DNA . . . overpopula- 
tion . . . the ambiguity of good-evil, rich-poor, strong-weak. 
. . . The old movies replayed . . . endless reminders of the 
transience of custom and moral . . . did Dad and Mom really 
dress like that and dance like Fred Astaire and believe those 
pompous, bigoted, red-faced idiot politicians? The old movies, 
embarrassingly rerunning time backward . . . humiliating cel- 
luloid records of parental capers . . . reincarnation history 
best left unstudied if you want to preserve naivet^ and enthusi- 
asm for the social game and really cheer and cheat and struggle 
for liberty and Notre Dame and the boys on the battlefront 
fighting the Kaiser. 

Spin faster and faster . . . flip on . . . switch over . . . 
turn on . . . compress time . . . this is CBC in Saigon . . . 
space out . . . tune in . . . focus . . . change channels . . . 
adjust brilliance . . . stroboscopic on-off . . . reality is a 
flickering grid of electronic images . . . narrow beam . . . 
stereophonic . . . sonic boom . . . freak out . . . put on 
. . . make out . . . turn on . . . drop out . . . now-then 
. . . here-infinity. Wow! The electronic-atomic age is an IBM 
psychedelic trip kaleidoscopic rocket blast multiphonic and 
there is no escape and no cop-out, and at age thirteen you are 
confronted with the choice which the slow linear game of the 
past allowed you to avoid robot or Buddha, grin and groove 
with it or you freeze like the smile on Shirley Temple's face on 
that late-night flick. 

Mao and Ho and Grand Charles and LBJ and Nasser are old 
mannikin figures from a pre-1914 world which is over. Ta-ta. 
Good-bye now. A shadowy, dusty, jerky black and white news- 
reel where men strutted and killed for patriotic virtue, manifest 
destiny, abstract values, national prestige, revolted against the 
wicked and conquered the devil enemy who believed in czarism. 
Communism, Fascism, Hooverism, Catholicism, and all the old. 

Hormonal Politics: The Menopausal Left-Right [ 171 

dated chess moves. Mao and LBJ are blood-nerve brothers, 
twins of the same steel bosom; they think alike. Their world 
view is basically the same. Like intertwined quarreling lovers, 
they are both committed to the same marriage capitalism- 
Communism. Both drank oil from the same maternal spigot. All 
the statesmen in the world have more in common with each 
other than with their own grandchildren. Ho loves Reagan; 
they share the same game consciousness, and they both avoid the 
bright, far-seeing eyes of their turned-on teen-agers. De Gaulle 
waltzes with Prime Minister Wilson, and they both turn oflE 
rock 'n' roll. 

I remember the phone ringing at Millbrook and a voice with 
a Russian accent, strange to me but full of love and confidence 
in my love. "Hello, Tim? This is Audrey. Audrey Voznesensky. 
We have never met but we are old friends. We have much in 
common. When can we talk? They are giving me trouble, too." 

And I remember the story of Allen Ginsberg being elected 
the King of the Carnival in Prague and riding in the float 
cheered by a hundred thousand Czech students while the old 
World War II Gestapo-style secret police watched and waited to 
bust Allen alone on the streets at midnight and deport him. 

To a large segment, perhaps a majority, of our youth the 
social reality of the United States makes little sense. They are 
tuned to a different electronic channel. The reality of a middle- 
aged American is a fabrication of mass media. TV, newspapers, 
magazines determine what Mom and Dad believe, like, dislike, 
desire, value. CBS-UPI-AP-Luce a million-mouthed monster 
blindly feeding on its own public-opinion-poll estimates of its 
own desires. Romney down. Reagan up. Filter cigarettes up. 
American Motors down. This social reality defined by elec- 
tronic feedback is a completely artificial closed circuit a con- 
sensual paranoia fabricating its own illusions. The struggle of 

Romney and _Reagan may fascinate middle-aged reporters 
who write for niiddle-aged editors in papers supported by 
middle-aged advertisers and purchased by middle-aged readers- 
all of whom convince each other that there is something real 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 172 

about the game of Romney and Reagan. But the majority of 
youth under twenty-five don't read these papers. To them the 
ridiculous sequence of posture, bluff, deceit, bluster we force 
upon Romneys and Reagans is as dimly remote and insane as 
the thrashings of Mao and anti-Mao forces far away in China. 

Who cares which impotent, tired old man grabs the power? 
Johnson? Kosygin? What's the difference? To a growing num- 
ber of youngsters in America and Russia the political games of 
the menopausal are ridiculous and immoral. American and 
Russian editorial writers, equally middle-aged, denounce youth 
for hooliganism and disrespect for the law. Exactly. The hip 
youngsters on either side of the Iron Curtain feel amused 
contempt for police, politicians, educators, generals who 
struggle to maintain by force a preelectronic, prepsychedelic 
social ethic of war, worry, competition, threat and fear. 

The American youngster is beginning to catch on to the 
frightening fact (already known by the veterans of the under- 
ground, the Negroes, the free artists, the delinquent poor, and 
the kids of Cuba and Russia) that the affluence and bribery of 
things and the carnival of televised athletic and political spec- 
tacles are the come-on for grim monolithic mind-copping social 
machines, and for those rebels who spurn the seductive bribe 
there awaits, on either side of the Iron Curtain, the gun and 
steel to coerce those who will not conform. 

The American youngster who chooses not to buy the system is 
confronted with a consciousness-control tyranny classically 
Soviet in its disregard for his individuality. Compulsory educa- 
tion. Can you really believe this phrase, compulsory education? 
This means that if you don't go to the state brainwashing insti- 
tutes built by the aging, you and your parents are arrested by 
policemen who carry guns. 

Compulsory draft. If you don't want to kill to support the 
frightened policies of belligerent politicians (hawks, they are 
called) , you'll go behind steel bars. 

Compulsory inhibition of individual freedom to dress and 
move. The teen-age curfew. Armed police arrest kids for being 
in the street even with parents' permission. My son Jack was 

Hormonal Politics: The Menopausal Left-Right [ 173 

arrested and jailed along with 50 other youngsters for walking 
along Haight Street in San Francisco. I phoned the juvenile 

**Why are you holding my son?" 

**He's a suspected runaway." 

**He was there with my permission. Now will you release 

"No. The law says he must be held until his parent picks him 

''But I'm in New York." 

"Sorry, that's the law." 

"You mean he has no civil rights in California? They can be 
held for no crime?" 

"That's right. Until they're eighteen they have no civil 

"And after eighteen you'll draft them, right?" 

Remember the photographs in your paper last September of 
the high school principal on his hands and knees measuring the 
length on the little girl's mini-skirt? And the compulsory cut- 
ting of hair? 

The average Mom and Dad, sitting gently in front of the 
television set, are unaware of the complex guerrilla skirmishes 
raging in the streets outside the door between the kids and the 
menopausal society. The reflex instinct of distrust and suspicion 
of the establishment, the underground Negroes, Mexicans, 
artists, Puerto Ricans, hippies, kids. 

The youngsters see it. Skillful and experienced at handling 
the media and psychedelic drugs (on which they were nursed) , 
they know how to react. Take, for example, the classic case of 
the Monkees. 

Hollywood executives decide to invent and market an Ameri- 
can version of the Beatles the early, preprophetic, cute, yeh- 
yeh Beatles. Got it? They audition a hallful of candidates and 
type-cast four cute kids. Hire some songwriters. Wire up the 
Hooper-rating computer. What do the screaming teeny-boppers 
want? Crank out the product and promote it. Feed the great 
consumer monster what it thinks it wants, plastic, syrupy, tasty. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 174 

marshmallow-filled, chocolate-coated, Saran-wrapped, and sell it. 
No controversy, no protest. No thinking strange, unique 
thoughts. No offending Mom and Dad and the advertisers. 
Make it silly, sun-tanned, grinning ABC-TV. 

And what happened? The same thing that happened to the 
Beatles. The four young Monkees weren't fooled for a moment. 
They went along with the system but didn't buy it. Like all the 
beautiful young sons of the new age Peter Fonda and Robert 
Walker and young John Barrymore and young Steinbeck and 
the wise young Hitchcocks the Monkees use the new energies 
to sing the new songs and pass on the new message. 

The Monkees' television show, for example. Oh, you thought 
that was silly teen-age entertainment? Don't be fooled. While it 
lasted, it was a classic Sufi put-on. An early-Christian electronic 
satire. A mystic-magic show. A jolly Buddha laugh at hypocrisy. 
At early evening kiddie-time on Monday the Monkees would 
rush through a parody drama, burlesquing the very shows that 
glue Mom and Dad to the set during prime time. Spoofing the 
movies and the violence and the down-heavy-conflict-emotion 
themes that fascinate the middle-aged. 

And woven into the fast-moving psychedelic stream of action 
were the prophetic, holy, challenging words. Mickey was rap 
ping quickly, dropping literary names, making scholarly refer- 
ences; then the sudden psychedelic switch of the reality channel. 
He looked straight at the camera, right into your living room, 
and up-leveled the comedy by saying: "Pretty good talking for a 
long-haired weirdo, huh, Mr. and Mrs. America?" And then- 
zap. Flash. Back to the innocuous comedy. 

Or, in a spy drama, Mickey warned Peter: "Why, this involves 
the responsibility for blowing up the entire world!" 

Peter, confidentially: "I'll take that responsibility!" 

And Mickey, with a glance at the camera, said, "Wow! With a 
little more ego he'll be ready to run for President." 

Why, it all happened so fast, LB J, you didn't ever see it. 
Suddenly a whole generation disappeared right from view. 
Flick. They're gone! They won't vote and they won't listen to 
the good old promises and threats, and they won't answer 

Hormonal Politics: The Menopausal Left-Right [ 175 

Gallup polls, and they just smile when we arrest them, and they 
won't be clean-cut, hard-working, sincere, frightened, ambitious 
boys like Khrushchev and I were. Heyl Where did they go? 
Flick. Hey, McNamara, fix this set! Ban LSD I Adjust the focus 
back, call a joint meeting of Congress. McNamara, dammit, 
boy, fix this set. All I get are flickering, dancing flower swirls of 
color, and shut off that loud rock 'n* roll beat. McNamaral 
Westmoreland! Dammit, fix this set! All I hear is the steady 
drumming beat and laughter, and it's getting softer and it's 
fading away in the distance. Hey, wait a minute I Come backl 
Hey, where did they all go? 



Poet of the Interior Journey 

Hermann Hesse was born in July 1877 in the little Swabian 
town of Calw, the son of Protestant missionaries. His home 
background and education were pietistic, intellectual, classical. 
He entered a theological seminary at the age of fourteen with 
the intention of taking orders and left two years later. In Basel 
he learned the book trade and made his living as a bookseller 
and editor of classical German literary texts. He became ac- 
quainted with Jacob Burckhardt, the great Swiss historian and 
philosopher, who later served as the model for the portrait of 
Father Jacobus in The Bead Game. In 1914 Hesse's "vm patri- 
otic" antiwar attitude brought him official censure and news- 
paper attacks. Two months after the outbreak of the war, an 
essay entitled "O Freunde, nicht diese Tone" ("O Friends, not 
these tones") was published in the Neue Ziircher Zeitung; it 
was an appeal to the youth of Germany, deploring the stampede 
to disaster. 

In 1911 he traveled in India. From 1914 to 1919 he lived in 
Bern, working in the German embassy as an assistant for 
prisoners of war. A series of personal crises accompanied the 
external crisis of the war: his father died; his youngest son fell 
seriously ill; his wife suffered a nervous breakdown and was 
hospitalized. In 1919, the year of the publication of Demian, he 
moved to the small village of Montagnola by the Lake of 
Lugano and remained there till the end of his life. In 1923 he 

Reprinted from Psychedelic Review, No. 3. This paper was coauthored by 
Ralph Metzner, editor of the Review. 

[ 176 



Timothy Leary was a co-editor and frequent contributor 
to The Psychedelic Review. 






Re-enactments of the world's great religious myths using psychedelic 
methods: sensory meditation, symbol-overload, media-mix, molecular 
and cellular phrasing, pantomime, dance, sound-light and lecture- 


(As Featured in the September 9th issue of LIFE Magazine.) 



To be presented on: 


at 8:30 




To be presented on: 


at 8:30 

OCTOBER 18, 25 



To be presented on: 


at 8:30 

NOVEMBER IS, 22. 29 


"Do You Want to Have a Party" Advertisement in 
Berkeley Barb (July 11, 1969). 

Poet of the Interior Journey [ 177 

acquired Swiss citizenship and in 1927 remarried. Hesse steeped 
himself in Indian and Chinese literature and philosophy, the 
latter particularly through the masterful translations of Chinese 
texts by Richard Wilhelm. In 1931 he remarried a third time 
and moved to another house in Montagnola which had been 
provided for him by his friend H. C. Bodmer. In 1946 he was 
awarded the Nobel Prize; in 1962, at the age of eighty-five, he 
died. Asked once what were the most important influences in 
his life, he said they were "the Christian and completely non- 
nationalist spirit of my parents* home,'* the "reading of the 
great Chinese masters," and the figure of the historian Jacob 

Few writers have chronicled with such dispassionate lucidity 
and fearless honesty the progress of the soul through the states 
of life. Peter Camenzind (1904), Demian (1919), Siddhartha 
(1922), Steppenwolf (1927), Narziss und Goldmund (1930), 
Journey to the East (1932), Magister Ludi (1943) different 
versions of spiritual autobiography, different maps of the in- 
terior path. Each new step revises the picture of all the previous 
steps; each experience opens up new worlds of discovery in a 
constant effort to communicate the vision. 

As John Cage is fond of reminding us, writing is one thing 
and reading is another. All writings, all authors are thoroughly 
misunderstood. Most wise men do not write because they know 
this. The wise man has penetrated through the verbal curtain, 
seen and known and felt the life process. We owe him our 
gratitude when he remains with us and tries to induce us to 
share the joy. 

The great writer is the wise man who feels compelled to 
translate the message into words. The message is, of course, 
around us and in us at all moments. Everything is a clue. 
Everything contains all the message. To pass it on in symbols is 
unnecessary but perhaps the greatest performance of man. 

Wise men write {with deliberation) in the esoteric. It's the 
way of making a rose or a baby. The exoteric form is maya, the 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 178 

hallucinatory facade. The meaning is within. The greatness of a 
great book lies in the esoteric, the seed meaning concealed 
behind the net of symbols. All great writers write the same 
book, changing only the exoteric trappings of their time and 

Hermann Hesse is one of the great writers of our time. He 
wrote Finnegan's Wake in several German versions. In addition 
to being a wise man, he could manipulate words well enough to 
win the Nobel Prize. 

Most readers miss the message of Hesse. Entranced by the 
pretty dance of plot and theme, they overlook the seed message. 
Hesse is a trickster. Like nature in April, he dresses up his code 
in fancy plumage. The literary reader picks the fruit, eats 
quickly, and tosses the core to the ground. But the seed, the 
electrical message, the code, is in the core. 

Take Siddhartha^ the primer for young bodhisattvas, 
written when Hesse was forty-five. Watch the old magician 
warming up to his work. We are introduced to a proud young 
man, strong, handsome, supple-limbed, graceful. Siddhartha is 
young and ambitious. He seeks to attain the greatest prize of 
all enlightenment. Cosmic one-upmanship. He masters each of 
the otherworldly games. The Vedas. Asceticism. Matches his 
wits against the Buddha himself. Tan trie worldly success. "We 
find consolations, we learn tricks with which we deceive our- 
selves, but the essential thing the way we do not find." "Wis- 
dom is not communicable." "I can love a stone, Govinda, and a 
tree or a piece of bark. These are things and one can love 
things. But one cannot love words. . . . Nirvana is not a thing; 
there is only the word Nirvana." Then in the last pages of the 
book, Hermann Hesse, Nobel Prize novelist, uses words to 
describe the wonderful illumination of Govinda, who 

no longer saw the face of his friend Siddhartha. Instead he saw 
other faces, many faces, a long series, a continuous stream of 
faces hundreds, thousands, which all came and disappeared 
and yet all seemed to be there at the same time, which all con- 

Poet of the Interior Journey [ 179 

tinually changed and renewed themselves and which were yet 
all Siddhartha. He saw the face of a fish, of a carp, with 
tremendous painfully opened mouth, a dying fish with dimmed 
eyes. He saw the face of a newly born child, red and full of 
wrinkles, ready to cry. He saw the face of a murderer, saw him 
plunge a knife into the body of a man; at the same moment he 
saw this criminal kneeling down, bound, and his head cut oflE 
by an executioner. He saw the naked bodies of men and women 
in the postures and transports of passionate love. He saw 
corpses stretched out, still, cold, empty. He saw the heads of 
animals, boars, crocodiles, elephants, oxen, birds. He saw 
Krishna and Agni. He saw all these forms and faces in a 
thousand relationships to each other, all helping each other, 
loving, hating and destroying each other and become newly 
born. Each one was mortal, a passionate, painful example of all 
that is transitory. Yet none of them died, they only changed, 
were always reborn, continually had a new face: only time 
stood between one face and another. And all these forms and 
faces rested, flowed, reproduced, swam past and merged into 
each other, and over them all there was continually something 
thin, unreal and yet existing, stretched across like thin glass or 
ice, like a transparent skin, shell, form or mask of water and 
this mask was Siddhartha's smiling face which Govinda touched 
with his lips at that moment. And Govinda saw that this mask- 
like smile, this smile of unity over the flowing forms, this smile 
of simultaneousness over the thousands of births and deaths 
this smile of Siddhartha was exactly the same as the calm, 
delicate, impenetrable, perhaps gracious, perhaps mocking, 
wise, thousand-fold smile of Gotama, the Buddha, as he had 
perceived it with awe a hundred times. It was in such a 
manner, Govinda knew, that the Perfect One smiled. 

Those who have taken one of the psychedelic drugs may 
recognize Govinda's vision as a classic LSD sequence. The direct 
visual confrontation with the unity of all men, the unity of life. 
That Hesse can write words such as unity, love. Nirvana is easily 
understood. Every Hindu textbook gives you the jargon. But 
his description of the visual details of the cosmic vision, the 
retinal specifics, is more impressive. Whence came to Hesse 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 180 

these concrete sensations? The similarity to the consciousness- 
expanding drug experience is startling. The specific, concrete 
"is-ness" of the illuminated moment usually escapes the abstract 
philosopher of mysticism. Did Hesse reach this visionary state 
himself? By meditation? Spontaneously? Did H.H., the novelist 
himself J use the chemical path to enlightenment? 

The answer to these questions is suggested in the next lesson 
of the master: Steppenwolf^a. novel of crisis, pain, conflict, 
torture at least on the surface. Hesse writes in a letter: "If my 
life were not a dangerous painful experiment, if I did not 
constantly skirt the abyss and feel the void under my feet, my 
life would have no meaning and I would not have been able to 
write anything." Most readers sophisticated in psychodynamics 
recognize the drama presented the conflict between ego and id, 
between spirit and material civilization, the "wolfish, satanic 
instincts that lurk within even our civilized selves," as the jacket 
of the paperback edition has it. "These readers [writes Hesse] 
have completely overlooked that above the Steppenwolf and his 
problematical life there exists a second, higher, timeless world 
. . . which contrasts the suffering of the Steppenwolf with a 
transpersonal and transtemporal world of faith, that the book 
certainly tells of pain and suffering but is the story of a believer 
not a tale of despair." 

As in Siddhartha, Hesse involves the reader in his fantastic 
tale, his ideas, his mental acrobatics, only to show at the end 
that the whole structure is illusory mind play. The mental rug 
is suddenly pulled out from under the gullible psychodynamic 
reader. This Zen trick is evident on at least two levels in the 
Steppenwolf. First, in the little "Treatise," a brilliant portrait 
of Harry, the man with two souls: the man refined, clever and 
interesting; and the wolf savage, untamable, dangerous and 
strong. The treatise describes his swings of mood, his bursts of 
creativity, his ambivalent relationship to the bourgeoisie, his 
fascination with suicide, his inability to reconcile the two con- 

Poet of the Interior Journey [ 181 

flicting selves. A breathtakingly subtle psychological analysis. 
Then, the sleight of hand: 

There is . . . a fundamental delusion to make clear. All 
interpretation, all psychology, all attempts to make things com- 
prehensible, require the medium of theories, mythologies and 
lies; and a self-respecting author should . . . dissipate these 
lies so far as may be in his power. . . . Harry consists of a 
hundred or a thousand selves, not of two. His life oscillates, as 
everyone's does, not merely between two poles, such as the 
body and the spirit, the saint and the sinner, but between 


Man is an onion made up of a hundred integuments, a texture 
made up of many threads. The ancient Asiatics knew this well 
enough, and in the Buddhist Yoga an exact technique was 
devised for unmasking the illusion of the personality. The 
human merry-go-round sees many changes: the illusion that 
cost India the efforts of thousands of years to unmask is the 
same illusion that the West has labored just as hard to maintain 
and strengthen. 

The dualistic self-image is described the fascinating and 
compelling Freudian metaphor and is then exposed as a delu- 
sion, a limited, pitiful perspective, a mind game. The second 
example of this trick occurs at the end of the book. We have 
followed Hesse in his descriptions of Harry as he runs through a 
series of vain attempts to conquer his despair through alcohol, 
through sex, through music, through friendship with the exotic 
musician Pablo; finally he enters the Magic Theater. "Price of 
Admission, your Mind." In other words, a mind-loss experience. 

From a recess in the wall [Pablo] took three glasses and a 
quaint little bottle. . . . He filled the three glasses from the 
bottle and taking three long thin yellow cigarettes from the 
box and a box of matches from the pocket of his silk jacket he 
gave us a light. ... Its effect was immeasurably enlivening 
and delightful as though one were filled with gas and had no 
longer any gravity. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 182 

Pablo says: 

You were striving, were you not, for escape? You have a long- 
ing to forsake this world and its reality and to penetrate to a 
reality more native to you, to a world beyond time. . . . You 
know, of course, where this other world lies hidden. It is the 
world of your own soul that you seek. Only within yourself 
exists that other reality for which you long. . . . All I can 
give you is the opportunity, the impulse, the key. I help you 
to make your own world visible. . . . This . . . theatre has 
as many doors into as many boxes as you please, ten or a hun- 
dred or a thousand, and behind each door exactly what you 
seek awaits you. . . . You have no doubt guessed long since 
that the conquest of time and the escape from reality, or how- 
ever else it may be that you choose to describe your longing, 
means simply the wish to be relieved of your so-called per- 
sonality. That is the prison where you lie. And if you enter the 
theatre as you are, you would see everything through the eyes 
of Harry and the old spectacles of the Steppenwolf. You are 
therefore requested to lay these spectacles aside and to be so 
kind as to leave your highly esteemed personality here in the 
cloak-room, where you will find it again when you wish. The 
pleasant dance from which you have just come, the treatise on 
the Steppenwolf, and the little stimulant that we have only this 
moment partaken of may have sufl&ciently prepared you. 

It seems clear that Hesse is describing a psychedelic experience, 
a drug-induced loss of self, a journey to the inner world. Each 
door in the Magic Theater has a sign on it, indicating the end- 
less possibilities of the experience. A sign called "Jolly Hunting. 
Great Automobile Hunt" initiates a fantastic orgy of mechani- 
cal destruction in which Harry becomes a lustful murderer. A 
second sign reads: "Guidance in the Building Up of the Person- 
ality. Success Guaranteed," which indicates a kind of chess game 
in which the pieces are the part of the personality. Cosmic 
psychotherapy. "We demonstrate to anyone whose soul has 
fallen to pieces that he can rearrange these pieces of a previous 
self in what order he pleases, and so attain to an endless multi- 

Poet of the Interior Journey [ 183 

plicity of moves in the game of life." Another sign reads: *'A11 
Girls Are Yours," and carries Harry into inexhaustible sexual 
fantasies. The crisis of the Steppenwolf, his inner conflicts, his 
despair, his morbidity and unsatisfied longing are dissolved in a 
whirling kaleidoscope of hallucinations. "I knew that all the 
hundred thousand pieces of life's game were in my pocket. A 
glimpse of its meaning had stirred my reason and I was deter- 
mined to begin the game afresh. I would sample its tortures 
once more and shudder again at its senselessness. I would 
traverse not once more, but often, the hell of my inner being. 
One day I would be a better hand at the game. One day I would 
learn how to laugh. Pablo was waiting for me, and Mozart too." 

So Harry Haller, the Steppenwolf, had his psychedelic ses- 
sion, discovered instead of one reality, infinite realities within 
the brain. He is admitted into the select group of those who 
have passed through the verbal curtain into other modes of 
consciousness. He has joined the elite brotherhood of the illu- 

And then what? Where do you go from there? How can the 
holy sense of unity and revelation be maintained? Does one sink 
back into the somnambulent world of rote passion, automated 
action, egocentricity? The poignant cry of ex-league member 
H.H.: "That almost all of u^and also I, even I should again 
lose myself in the soundless deserts of mapped out reality, just 
like officials and shop assistants who, after a party or a Sunday 
outing, adapt themselves again to everyday business life!" These 
are issues faced by everyone who has passed into a deep, trans- 
ego experience. How can we preserve the freshness, illuminate 
each second of subsequent life? How can we maintain the 
ecstatic oneness with others? 

Throughout the ages mystical groups have formed to provide 
social structure and support for transcendence. The magic 
circle. Often secret, always persecuted by the sleepwalking ma- 
jority, these cults move quietly in the background shadows of 
history. The problem is, of course, the amount of structure 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 184 

surrounding the mystical spark. Too much too soon, and you 
have priesthood ritual on your hands. And the flame is gone. 
Too little, and the teaching function is lost; the interpersonal 
unity drifts into gaseous anarchy. The bohemians. The beats. 
The lonely arrogants. 

Free from attachment to self, to social games, to anthropo- 
morphic humanism, even to life itself, the illuminated soul can 
sustain the heightened charge of energy released by transcen- 
dent experiences. But such men are rare in any century. The 
rest of us seem to need support on the way. Men who attempt to 
pursue the psychedelic-drug path on their own are underesti- 
mating the power and the scope of the nervous system. A variety 
of LSD casualties results: breakdown, confusion, grandiosity, 
prima-donna individualism, disorganized eccentricity, sincere 
knavery and retreat to conformity. It makes no more sense to 
blame the drug for such casualties than it does to blame the 
nuclear process for the bomb. Would it not be more accurate to 
lament our primitive tribal pressures toward personal power, 
success, individualism? 

Huston Smith has remarked that of the eightfold path of the 
Buddha, the ninth and greatest is right association. The trans- 
personal group. The consciousness-expansion community. Sur- 
round yourself after the vision, after the psychedelic session, 
with friends who share the goal, who can up-level you by 
example or unitive love, who can help reinstate the illumi- 

The sociology of transcendence. Hesse takes up the problem 
of the transpersonal community in the form of the League of 
Eastern Wayfarers.^ 

"It was my destiny to join in a great experience. Having had 
the good fortune to belong to the League, I was permitted to be 
a participant in a unique journey." The narrator, H.H., tells 
that the starting place of the journey was Germany, and the 
time shortly after World War L "Our people at that time were 

Poet of the Interior Journey [ 185 

lured by many phantoms, but there were also many real spiri- 
tual advances. There were bacchanalian dance societies and 
Anabaptist groups, there was one thing after another that seemed 
to point to what was wonderful and beyond the veil." There 
were also scientific and artistic groups engaged in the explora- 
tion of consciousness-expanding drugs. Kurt Beringer's mono- 
graph Der Meskalinrausch^ describes some of the scientific 
experiments and the creative applications. Rene DaumaFs 
novel Le Mont Analogue^ is a symbolic account of a similar 
league journey in France. The participants were experimenting 
widely with drugs such as hashish, mescaline and carbon tetra- 

Hesse never explicitly names any drugs in his writings, but 
the passages quoted earlier from the Steppenwolf are fairly 
unequivocal in stating that some chemical was involved and 
that it had a rather direct relationship to the subsequent experi- 
ence. Now, after this first enlightenment, in Journey to the 
East, H.H. tells of subsequent visits to the Magical Theater. 

We not only wandered through Space, but also through Time. 
We moved towards the East, but we also traveled into the 
Middle Ages and the Golden Age; we roamed through Italy 
or Switzerland, but at times we also spent the night in the 
10th century and dwelt with the patriarchs or the fairies. 
During the times I remained alone, I often found again places 
and people of my own past. I wandered with my former 
betrothed along the edges of the forest of the Upper Rhine, 
caroused with friends of my youth in Tubingen, in Basle or 
in Florence, or I was a boy and went with my school-friends 
to catch butterflies or to watch an otter, or my company con- 
sisted of the beloved characters of my books; . . . For our goal 
was not only the East, or rather the East was not only a country 
and something geographical, but it was the home and youth 
of the soul, it was everywhere and nowhere, it was the union 
of all times. 

Later the link between the Steppenwolf's drug liberation and 
the league becomes more specific: 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 186 

When something precious and irretrievable is lost, we have the 
feeling of having awakened from a dream. In my case this 
feeling is strangely correct, for my happiness did indeed arise 
from the same secret as the happiness in dreams; it arose from 
the freedom to experience everything imaginable simultane- 
ously, to exchange outward and inward easily, to move Time 
and Space about like scenes in a theatre. 

Hesse is always the esoteric hand, but there seems to be little 
doubt that beneath the surface of his Eastern allegory runs the 
history of a real-life psychedelic brotherhood. The visionary 
experiences described in Journey to the East are identified by 
location and name of participants. A recently published biog- 
raphy traces the connections between these names and loca- 
tions and Hesse's friends and activities at the time. 

And again and again, in Swabia, at Bodensee, in Switzer- 
land, everywhere, we met people who understood us, or were 
in some way thankful that we and our League and our Journey 
to the East existed. Amid the tramways and banks of Zurich 
we came across Noah's Ark guarded by several old dogs which 
all had the same name, and which were bravely guided across 
the dangerous depths of a calm period by Hans C, Noah's 
descendant, friend of the arts. 

Hans C. Bodmer is Hesse's friend, to whom the book is dedi- 
cated, and who later bought the house in Montagnola for Hesse. 
He lived at the time in a house in Zurich named the Ark. 

One of the most beautiful experiences was the League's 
celebration in Bremgarten; the magic circle surrounded us 
closely there. Received by Max and Tilli, the lords of the 
castle. . . . 

Castle Bremgarten, near Bern, was the house of Max Wassmer, 
where Hesse was often a guest. The "Black King" in Winter- 
thur refers to another friend, Georg Reinhart, to whose house, 
"filled with secrets," Hesse was often invited. The names of 

Poet of the Interior Journey [ 187 

artists and writers which occur in Journey to the East are all 
either directly the names of actual historical persons or immedi- 
ately derived from them: Lauscher, Klingsor, Paul Klee, Ninon 
(Hesse's wife) , Hugo Wolf, Brentano, Lindhorst, etc. In other 
words, it appears likely that the scenes described are based on 
the actual experiences of a very close group of friends who met 
in each other's homes in southern Germany and Switzerland 
and pursued the journey to what was "not only a country and 
something geographical, but it was the home and youth of the 
soul, it was everywhere and nowhere, it was the union of all 

So the clues suggest that for a moment in ''historical reality" 
a writer named Hermann Hesse and his friends wandered 
together through the limitless pageants of expanded conscious- 
ness, down through the evolutionary archives. Then apparently 
H.H. loses contact, slips back to his mind and his egocentric 
perspectives. ''The pilgrimage had shattered . . . the magic 
had then vanished more and more." He has stumbled out of the 
the life stream into robot rationality. H.H. wants to become an 
author, spin in words the story of his life. "I, in my simplicity, 
wanted to write the story of the league, I, who could not 
decipher or understand one-thousandth part of those millions of 
scripts, books, pictures and references in the archives!" Ar- 
chives? The cortical library? 

What then was, is, the league? Is it the exoteric society with a 
golden-clad president, Leo, maker of ointments and herbal 
cures, and a speaker, and a high throne, and an extended 
council hall? These are but the exoteric trappings. Is not the 
league rather the "procession of believers and disciples . . . in- 
cessantly . . . moving towards the East, towards the Home of 
Light"? The eternal stream of life ever unfolding. The unity of 
the evolutionary process, too easily fragmented and frozen by 
illusions of individuality. "A very slow, smooth but continuous 
flowing or melting; . . . It seemed that, in time, all the sub- 
stance from one image would flow into the other and only one 
would remain . . ." 

The Politics of Ecstasy [188 

Many who have made direct contact with the life process 
through a psychedelic or spontaneous mystical experience find 
themselves yearning for a social structure. Some external form 
to do justice to transcendental experiences. Hermann Hesse 
again provides us with the esoteric instructions. Look within. 
The league is within. So is the 2-billion-year-old historical 
archive, your brain. Play it out with those who will dance with 
you, but remember, the external differentiating forms are illu- 
sory. The union is internal. The league is in and around you at 
all times. 

But to be human is to be rational. Homo sapiens wants to 
know. Here is the ancient tension. To be. To know. Well, the 
magician has a spell to weave here, too. The intellect divorced 
from old-fashioned neurosis, freed from egocentricity, from 
semantic reification. The mind illuminated by meditation 
ready to play with the lawful rhythm of concepts. The bead 

The Bead Game (Magister Ludi) i' begun in 1931, finished 
eleven years later, was published six months after its comple- 
tion, but in Switzerland, not Germany. "In opposition to the 
present world I had to show the realm of mind and of spirit, 
show it as real and unconquerable; thus my work became a 
Utopia, the image was projected into the future, and to my 
surprise the world of Castalia emerged almost by itself. Without 
my knowledge, it was already preformed in my soul." Thus 
wrote Hesse in 1955. The Bead Game is the synthesis and end 
point of Hesse's developing thought; all the strands begun in 
Siddhartha, Journey to the East, Steppenwolf are woven to- 
gether into a vision of a future society of mystic game players. 
The "players with pearls of glass" are an elite of intellectual 
mystics who, analogously to the monastic orders of the Middle 
Ages, have created a mountain retreat to preserve cultural and 
spiritual values. The core of their practice is the bead game, "a 
device that comprises the complete contents and values of our 
culture." The game consists in the manipulation of a complex 
archive of symbols and formulas, based in their structure on 

Poet of the Interior Journey [ 189 

music and mathematics, by means of which all knowledge, 
science, art and culture can be represented. 

This Game of games . . . has developed into a kind of uni- 
versal speech, through the medium of which the players are 
enabled to express values in lucid symbols and to place them 
in relation to each other. ... A Game can originate, for 
example, from a given astronomical configuration, a theme 
from a Bach fugue, a phrase of Leibnitz or from the Up- 
anishads, and the fundamental idea awakened can, according 
to the intention and talent of the player, either proceed further 
and be built up or enriched through assonances to relative 
concepts. While a moderate beginner can, through these 
symbols, formulate parallels between a piece of classical music 
and the formula of a natural law, the adept and Master of the 
Game can lead the opening theme into the freedom of bound- 
less combinations. 

The old dream of a universitas, a synthesis of human knowl- 
edge, combining analysis and intuition, science and art, the play 
of the free intellect, governed by aesthetic and structural anal- 
ogies, not by the demands of application and technology. Again, 
on the intellectual plane, the problem is always just how much 
structure the mind game should have. If there are no overall 
goals or rules, we have ever-increasing specialization and disper- 
sion, breakdown in communication, a Babel of cultures, mul- 
tiple constrictions of the range in favor of deepening the 
specialized field. Psychology. If there is too much structure or 
overinvestment in the game goals, we have dogmatism, stifling 
conformity, ever-increasing triviality of concerns, adulation of 
sheer techniques, virtuosity at the expense of understanding. 

In the history of the bead game, the author explains, the 
practice of meditation was introduced by the League of Eastern 
Wayfarers in reaction against mere intellectual virtuosity. After 
each move in the game a period of silent meditation was 
observed; the origins and meanings of the symbols involved 
were slowly absorbed by the players. Joseph Knecht, the Game 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 190 

Master, whose life is described in the book, sums up the effect as 

The Game, as I interpret it, encompasses the player at the 
conclusion of his meditation in the same way as the surface of 
a sphere encloses its centre, and leaves him with the feeling of 
having resolved the fortuitous and chaotic world into one that 
is symmetrical and harmonious. 

Groups which attempt to apply psychedelic experiences to 
social living will find in the story of Castalia all the features and 
problems which such attempts inevitably encounter: the need 
for a new language or set of symbols to do justice to the incred- 
ible complexity and power of the human cerebral machinery; 
the central importance of maintaining direct contact with the 
regenerative forces of the life process through meditation or 
other methods of altering consciousness; the crucial and essen- 
tially insoluble problem of the relation of the mystic com- 
munity to the world at large. Can the order remain an educative, 
spiritual force in the society, or must it degenerate through 
isolation and inattention to a detached, alienated group of 
idealists? Every major and minor social renaissance has 
had to face this problem. Hesse's answer is clear: the last part of 
the book consists of three tales, allegedly written by Knecht, 
describing his life in different incarnations. In each one the 
hero devotes himself wholeheartedly to the service and pursuit 
of an idealist, spiritual goal, only to recognize at the end that 
he has become the slave of his own delusions. In "The Indian 
Life" this is clearest: Dasa, the young Brahmin, meets a yogi 
who asks him to fetch water; by the stream Dasa falls asleep. 
Later he marries, becomes a prince, has children, wages war, 
pursues learning, is defeated, hurt, humiliated, imprisoned, 
dies and wakes up by the stream in the forest to discover that 
everything had been an illusion. 

Everything had been displaced in time and everything had 
been telescoped within the twinkling of an eye: everything was 
a dream, even that which had seemed dire truth and perhaps 

Poet of the Interior Journey [ 191 

also all that which had happened previously the story of the 
prince's son Dasa, his cowherd's life, his marriage, his revenge 
upon Nala and his sojourn with the Yogi. They were all 
pictures such as one may admire on a carved palace wall, where 
flowers, stars, birds, apes and gods can be seen portrayed in 
bas-relief. Was not all that which he had most recently ex- 
perienced and now had before his eyes this awakening out of 
his dream of princehood, war and prison, this standing by the 
spring, this water bowl which he had just shaken, along with the 
thoughts he was now thinking ultimately woven of the same 
stuff? Was it not dream, illusion, Maya? And what he was about 
to live in the future, see with his eyes and feel with his hands 
until death should come was that of other stuff, of some other 
fashion? It was a game and a delusion, foam and dream, it was 
Maya, the whole beautiful, dreadful, enchanting and desperate 
kaleidoscope of life with its burning joys and sorrows. 

The life of Joseph Knecht is described as a series of awaken- 
ings from the time he is "called" to enter the Castalian hier- 
archy ("Knecht" in German means "servant") , through his 
period as Magister Ludi, to his eventual renunciation of the 
order and the game. Castalia is essentially the league, frozen 
into a social institution. Again the trickster involves us in his 
magnificent Utopian vision, the "Game of games," only to show 
at the end the transience of this form as of all others. Having 
reached the highest position possible in the order, Knecht 
resigns his post. He warns the order of its lack of contact with 
the outside world and points out that Castalia, like any other 
social form, is limited in time. In his justificatory speech he 
refers to "a kind of spiritual experience which I have under- 
gone from time to time and which I call 'awakening.' " 

I have never thought of these awakenings as manifestations of 
a God or a demon or even of an absolute truth. What gives 
them weight and credibility is not their contact with truth, 
their high origin, their divinity or anything in that nature, but 
their reality. They are monstrously real in their presence and 
inescapability, like some violent bodily pain or surprising 
natural phenomenon. . . . My life, as I saw it, was to be a 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 192 

transcendence, a progress from step to step, a series of realms 
to be traversed and left behind one after another, just as a 
piece of music perfects, completes and leaves behind theme after 
theme, tempo after tempo, never tired, never sleeping, always 
aware and always perfect in the present. I had noticed that, 
coincidental with the experience of awakening, there actually 
were such steps and realms, and that each time a life stage was 
coming to an end it was fraught with decay and a desire for 
death before leading to a new realm, and awakening and to a 
new beginning. 

The mystic or visionary is always in opposition to or outside of 
social institutions, and even if the institution is the most perfect 
imaginable, the game of games, even if it is the one created by 
oneself, this too is transient, limited, another realm to be 
traversed. After leaving Castalia, Knecht wanders off on foot: 

It was all perfectly new again, mysterious and of great promise; 
everything that had once been could be revived, and much that 
was new besides. It seemed ages since the day and the world had 
looked so beautiful, innocent and undismayed. The joy of free- 
dom and independence flowed through his veins like a strong 
potion, and he recalled how long it was since he had felt this 
precious sensation, this lovely and enchanting illusion! 

So there it is. The saga of H.H. The critics tell us that Hesse 
is the master novelist. Well, maybe. But the novel is a social 
form, and the social in Hesse is exoteric. At another level Hesse 
is the master guide to the psychedelic experience and its appli- 
cation. Before your LSD session, read Siddhartha and Steppen- 
wolf. The last part of the Steppenwolf is a priceless manual. 

Then when you face the problem of integrating your visions 
with the plastic-doll routine of your life, study Journey to the 
East. Find yourself a magic circle. League members await you 
on all sides. With more psychedelic experience, you will grapple 
with the problem of language and communication, and your 
thoughts and your actions will be multiplied in creative com- 
plexity as you learn how to play with the interdisciplinary 
symbols, the multilevel metaphors. The bead game. 

Poet of the Interior Journey [ 193 

But always, Hesse reminds us, stay close to the internal core. 
The mystic formulas, the league, the staggeringly rich intellec- 
tual potentials are deadening traps if the internal flame is not 
kept burning. The flame is of course always there, within and 
without, surrounding us, keeping us alive. Our only task is to 
keep tuned in. 

Did Hesse Use Mind-Changing Drugs? 

Although the argument of the preceding commentary does not 
depend on the answer to this question, there are sufficient clues 
in Hesse's writings to make the matter of some historical and 
literary interest. In Germany, at the time Hesse was writing, 
considerable research on mescaline was going on. This has been 
reported in a monograph by Kurt Beringer, Der Meskalin- 
rausch. Much of the material was also analyzed in Heinrich 
Kliiver's monograph. Mescal, the first book on mescaline pub- 
lished in English.* 

In response to our inquiry. Professor Kliiver, now at the 
University of Chicago, has written: 

To my knowledge Hermann Hesse never took mescaline (I 
once raised this question in Switzerland) . I do not know 
whether he even knew of the mescaline experiments going on 
under the direction of Beringer in Heidelberg. You know, of 
course, that Hesse (and his family) was intimately acquainted 
with the world and ideas of India. This no doubt has colored 
many scenes in his books. 


1 Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha, trans, by Hilda Rosner (New York, New 
Directions, 1957), pp. 20, 144, 147, 151-53. 

2 , Steppenwolf, trans, by Basil Creighton (New York, Random House, 

1963) , pp. vi, 62, 63, 66-67, 197-99, 217, 246. 

3 , The Journey to the East, trans, by Hilda Rosner (New York, 

Noonday Press, 1957) , pp. 3, 10, 27-28, 29, 31, 96, 118. 

Mescal: The "Divine" Plant and Its Psychological Effects (University of Chi- 
cago Press, 1964) . 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 194 

* Kurt Beringer, Der Meskalinrausch, seine Geschichte und Erscheinungs- 
weise (Berlin, Springer, 1927) . 

5 Ren^ Daumal, Mount Analogue: An Authentic Narrative, trans, and 
intro. by Roger Shattuck; postface by V^ra Daumal (New York, Pantheon, 
1960) . 

6 Bernhard Zeller, Hermann Hesse: Eine Chronik in Bildern (Frankfurt, 
Suhrkamp, 1960) . 

7 Hermann Hesse, Magister Ludi (The Bead Game) , trans, by Mervyn 
Savill (New York, Ungar, 1957), pp. 10, 17. 39, 355-56, 359, 367, 500-01. 



A Trip with Paul Krassner' 

Krassner: I'd like to try not posing a single question youVe 
ever been asked before. 

Leary; Okay, and I'll try not to give any answer I've ever 
given before. 

Krassner: Do you think you would've been fired by Harvard 
for being AWOL if you hadn't conducted experiments with 
LSD that resulted in unfavorable publicity? 

Leary: Of course not. 

Krassner: A lot of people smoke pot for what they consider 
pleasure, simply to get high. Are you copping out on them by 
fighting your marijuana case on the grounds of religious 

Leary: They have a perfect right to defend their use of 
marijuana or LSD as an instrument for getting high. The pur- 
suit of happiness is the first sentence in the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, which founded this republic. But most people who 
use LSD and marijuana to get high don't really know how to do 
it, because the science and discipline of ecstasy is probably the 
most demanding yoga that I can think of. 

People who criticize my use of the First Amendment that is, 
religious belief and practice as a defense of my smoking mari- 
juana and using LSD simply don't understand what religion 
means, or they have a very narrow Western, Protestant-Catholic- 
Jewish concept of religion. 

Reprinted from the Realist, September 1966. 

[ 195 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 196 

My philosophy of life has been tremendously influenced by 
my study of oriental philosophy and religion. Of course, what 
the American, regardless of his religious belief, doesn't under- 
stand is that the aim of oriental religion is to get high, to have 
an ecstasy, to tune in, to turn on, to contact incredible diversity, 
beauty, living, pulsating meaning of the sense organs, and the 
much more complicated and pleasurable and revelatory mes- 
sages of cellular energy. 

To a Hindu, the spiritual quest is internal. 

Different sects of oriental religion use different methods and 
different body organs to find God. The Shivites use the senses; 
the followers of Vishnu are concerned with cellular wisdom, 
contacting the endless flow of reincarnation wisdom which 
biochemists would call protein wisdom of the DNA code; Bud- 
dhist manuals on consciousness expansion are concerned with 
the flash, the white light of the void, the ecstatic union that 
comes when you're completely turned on, beyond the senses, 
beyond the body. 

Another misconception about religion and my use of the 
First Amendment has to do with the institutional and establish- 
ment concept that Westerners have of religion. People that use 
marijuana and LSD in their own homes or their own gardens 
say, "What does this have to do with religion?" Because religion 
to them means priests, Bibles, churches, Sunday schools, sects, 
rules and regulations. 

To most Orientals the sacred temple of religion is your own 
body. The shrine is in your own home. Your priest or teacher or 
guru is someone with whom you live and share most of the joys 
and frustrations of daily life. 

There's another aspect of this religious definition of the cel- 
lular experience: it requires time, training, practice and disci- 
pline to really use your sense organs, to be able to focus in on 
your cells; to move your consciousness from one type of ecstasy 
to another requires knowledge and guidance. 

To really use the instrument of your body and the millions of 
sensory and cellular cameras with which you're endowed re- 

A Trip with Paul Krassner [ 197 

quires know-how, and in the East these technical manuals are 
called textbooks of yoga or religious illumination. 

So just turning on with pot or LSD in a spontaneous manner 
in your home can be pleasant and even revealing. For most 
people, it's a failure to pay respect to the potentialities of the 
nervous system and the cells and the powers of the psychedelic 
drugs like marijuana and LSD to open up these complex 

Krassner: Let's assume you win your case; what would be 
the implications for the pot smoker who wouldn't use religious 
freedom as a defense? 

Leary: It just so happened that I had been initiated by a 
Hindu guru, but you can join Art Kleps' Neo-American 
Church, you can declare your own religion with you and your 
wife. There is a lot of precedent. Supreme Court rulings, that 
religious beliefs and practices are an individual matter. The 
atheist who believes in pacifism can claim to be a conscientious 
objector. This was a monumental decision by Justice Douglas. I 
don't want to come on as a lawyer, but . . . 

Krassner: Lenny Bruce did, why not you? 

Leary: Lenny did it, so why should I? But I would like to 
tell your readers that it's left to them to work out their solution, 
and if they believe in it, they will win. 

The great lesson you learn from LSD, from contacting your 
cells, is that every generation has to reenact the whole evolu- 
tionary drama, and to live a full life you have to go through the 
whole sequence yourself. If you don't, you've sold out on the 
range of possibilities and challenges. 

You have to be Moses, you have to hammer out your own 
ethical code. You have to be Bishop Berkeley and hammer out 
your solution to the problem of matter and idea. You have to be 
Plato. All the solutions you read about in textbooks are canned, 
static and meaningless. 

You've got to fight your own defense of your religion because 
every man in history has to do it. Most people in history, most 
Americans, don't realize this and aren't willing to do it. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 198 

I'm fighting my case on the unique constellation of activities 
that I've engaged in and it's a damn good case but I would 
think that any pot smoker who really understands the poten- 
tialities of the energies he's releasing and the power of that 
benign plant he inhales has got a constitutional case. 

If he doesn't understand it, he's just smoking pot, not for 
kicks, but because it's the hip game to play, and if that's the 
level he wants to stay on, then he's going to cop out, and he 
won't fight his case in his own mind or with the law. 

Krassner: But don't you think that winning your case on 
religious grounds might preclude their legal right to smoke pot 
simply for kicks? 

Leary: My case is not based just on the religious belief. 
There are three issues involved: 

My right to pursue my spiritual quests with the methods and 
the maps that make sense to me that's the religious. 

Number two, I have a right to pursue knowledge not just 
because I'm a psychologist, but because a psychologist should be 
doing (most of them aren't) what every human being should be 
doing trying to figure out, what is it all about? Pursuit of 

The third ground upon which I defend my use of marijuana 
is my right to live in my home and raise my kids and live my 
family life according to my best beliefs and my conscience. 

So long as none of these three religious, scientific or personal 
activities produce any visible harm to my fellow man. 

Now, the lawyers have picked up on the first that is, the 
spiritual quest, or the religious issue because as lawyers, they 
want to win the case, and there's a long tradition in our country 
of religious freedom. So there's precedent there. 

I've had several debates with my lawyers. I've said, "Well, 
really, I'd rather go up on the scientific issue because most of 
my adult life has been devoted to this quest." They say, "Yes, 
but you're really writing totally new law there." 

Granted that the Constitution should provide for the right to 
pursue knowledge, and it does in religion. When you get to 
the right to raise your kids and to live your family life the way 

A Trip with Paul Krassner [ 199 

you want to, that may come into the Ninth Amendment, which 
is vaguely the constitutional right to privacy, but each of these 
issues requires an enormous amount of legal scholarship, and 
the lawyers have chosen the religious, admitting that the scien- 
tific and the personal will have their day in court. 

I cannot fight all of these cases, and I cannot test all of the 
ambiguities and the blind spots in constitutional protection, 
but my case is going to be the first of many victories on all of 
these constitutional rights, which come down to the issue of if 
you want to smoke marijuana because you and your wife can 
make love more effectively that way, or because it tunes you on 
to music more, or because you enjoy your garden more, you 
have a constitutional right to do that. But I can't fight all these 
issues, and my lawyers can't. 

We see this as a broad civil liberties campaign, and as I try to 
explain to my hipster friends, everything in life takes place cell 
by cell, step by step, and you have to win case by case. I pre- 
dict that there will be hundreds of civil liberties cases concern- 
ing the right of an individual to change his own consciousness 
for exactly the goals and purposes that he wants. 

See, I don't pretend to be a lawyer, but I do have a cellular, 
intuitive sense about where law, which is necessary to protect 
society, stops and where individual growth, which is necessary to 
keep society going, begins. 

Krassner: Now your hipster friends will accuse you of cop- 
ping out because you said that some day there'll come a case 
based on the right to smoke pot because a man and his wife can 
make love more effectively you know, why do they have to be 

Leary: Well, the district attorneys were questioning children 
in my household today in a grand jury hearing about sleeping 
habits in my house, so we're already into that, but I'm sure that 
will come up. 

Krassner: Someone in the Timothy Leary Defense Fund 
office earlier said, "Why, that's corrupting the morals of a 
minor. It's putting thoughts into her mind which might not 
have been there." 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 200 

Leary: They're there. Because the younger the person, the 
more in tune they are with their cells. 

Krassner: I wonder if what I would call your form of 
mysticism isn't just a semantic difference between us. Now I 
believe that there are only individual consciousnesses; do you 
believe that God or if you will, the universe is conscious of its 

Leary: I think that there are exquisite and complex har- 
monies at many different levels of energy in the universe and 
that this harmony involves a consciousness of the interwoven- 
ness of organic life and inorganic life. I think, though, that this 
incredible process of evolution is continually surprising itself 
and amazing itself and delighting itself and freaking itself out 
with what it's doing. But is there one central computer that's 
planning it all or can sum it all up in one moment? I don't 
think so. 

Krassner: When you say "delighting itself, amazing itself," 
you're implying that there's an awareness of what it's doing. 

Leary: But it's out of control. There's an awareness not of 
what it's doing; there's an awareness of what's happening. God 
exists at every level of consciousness. 

At the verbal symbolic level, God is the word g-o-d which is 
the center of the verbal network of the verbal mandala. 

At the level of your senses, God is the central drone or the 
center of the sensory mandala is the orgasm center, if you will. 

At the level of cell, God is the DNA code because the DNA 
code, as biochemists describe it, is all the attributes that we have 
attributed to God: the all-powerful, ever-changing intelligence 
far greater than man's mind which is continually manifesting 
itself in different forms. Well, man, that's what the genetic code 
has been doing for 2 billion years. 

Then very sophisticated biophysicists like Andrew Cochran 
tell us that so-called inorganic matter molecules and atomic 
structures have the same game going, that the nucleus of the 
atom is God at that level, it's always invisible, God is always the 
smallest and the most central. . . . 

Krassner: Wait, before we get too abstract. What I'm really 

A Trip with Paul Krassner [ 201 

asking boils down to this: YouVe gone on record as saying that 
you talk to trees; what I want to know is, do the trees hear what 
you're saying to them? 

Leary: Well, I hear what the trees are telling me. I listen to 
trees. Whether they hear me, I don't know. You'd have to ask a 
tree. I think they do. 

There was an expert gardener in a little orchard we have at 
Millbrook, who was talking about cutting down some of the 
apple trees that I've been pruning and talking to for a couple of 
years now, because they're old and not producing and the ap- 
ples are sour he had all sorts of reasons. He wanted to bring in 
a lot of dwarf apples to make a lot of money. 

I looked around and I said, "You realize this is a very reckless 
conversation you're involved in." 

"Yeah, the trees can hear, right?" 

And I said, "You notice that I've said nothing except friendly 
and protective things about these trees. There's no testimony 
from me. . . ." 

Yes, I listen to the trees and hear what they say and I think 
that they hear what I say. Not what I say, since trees don't speak 
English, but the trees are very aware of what I'm doing to them 
and to the ground around them. And by me I don't mean 
Timothy Leary. They don't talk that language. 

Krassner: Look, you're deaf in one ear, so if you lie with 
your good ear to the pillow, you can shut out sound you can't 
hear a tree or a person. Now if a tree has no ears, by what 
process does it get your message? 

Leary: A tree doesn't speak in sound waves. When I listen to 
a tree, I don't listen with my ear. When I talk to the trees, I 
don't talk in words or language. 

Krassner: But you really do believe that the tree is aware? 

Leary: Yes. When I walk out in any garden or field in Mill- 
brook, I'm convinced that the vegetative life there is aware of 
my presence, and I'm sending out vibrations which they pick 

Krassner: And somebody else would send out different vi- 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 202 

Leary: Yup. 

Krassner: Then maybe there's truth to the old superstition 
that a menstruating woman can affect plant growth? 

Leary: I think it's possible. I would parenthetically suggest 
that we review a lot of so-called superstitions and primitive 
beliefs, and we'd find they're based upon cellular wisdom. 

But you see, the embarrassing facts of the matter are that the 
DNA code which designed you is not that different from the 
DNA code that designed a tree. There are some obvious prod- 
uct-packaging differences, but they're both strands of living 
protein planfulness that go back to a common origin. 

Krassner: But without the brain I would have no conscious- 
ness ... or don't you accept that premise? 

Leary: My dear Paul, every cell in your body is acutely con- 
scious, is decoding energy, has access to wisdom which dwarfs 
the mental, prefrontal symbolic aspect that you consider normal 
waking consciousness. 

You called me a mystic, and you could call yourself a rational- 
ist, I agree, you are a rationalist because you rely mainly on 
symbols. And you're a very acute and beautiful game analyst. 
But I don't consider myself a mystic; I consider myself a real 
realist in that I'm accepting the empirical evidence of modern 
biochemistry and the intuitive experiential evidence of what 
I've learned by taking LSD 300 times. 

The Paul Krassner mind is about thirty years old, but there 
are energy systems, blueprinting facilities and memory systems 
within your cells and your nervous system which are hundreds 
of millions of years old, which have a language and a politics 
which are much more complicated than English and modern 
Democrat-Republican politics. 

What we're doing for the mind is what the microbiologists 
did for the external sciences 300 years ago when they discovered 
the microscope. And they made this incredible discovery that 
life, health, growth, every form of organic life, is based on the 
cell, which is invisible. 

You've never seen a cell; what do you think of that? Yet it's 
the key to everything that happens to a living creature. I'm 

A Trip with Paul Krassner [ 203 

simply saying that same thing from the mental, psychological 
standpoint, that there are wisdoms, lawful units inside the 
nervous system, invisible to the symbolic mind, which deter- 
mine almost everything. 

And I don't consider that mystical unless you'd call someone 
who looks through a microscope a mystic, because he's telling 
you about something for which you don't have the symbols. Or 
the astronomer who detects a quasar and speculates about it. 

Krassner: All right, but I don't consider it rationalistic to be 
hung up on symbols. I think we agree on the artificiality of 

Leary: Right. 

Krassner: But I would go to the extent that a man perhaps 
could not be considered mentally healthy, or free or cellular, 
to use your metaphor if he couldn't . . . the most blatant 
example would be, let's say, if he couldn't spit on a crucifix just 
to show that the symbol itself is really an artifact. 

Leary: Yes, but in another sense I consider myself a ration- 
alist because I believe that it is man's challenge to develop new 
symbol systems for these new levels of internal consciousness. 
Just as we had to develop a new symbol system for the invisible, 
uncharted world which was opened up with the microscope, the 
task now is to develop symbol systems for the new invisible 
worlds which are opened up by psychedelic drugs. 

We're used to having many symbol systems on the macro- 
scopic level. We use one symbol system for chess, another for 
baseball, another for politics. So is it necessary to have symbol 
systems for the different levels of consciousness. 

Another fascinating challenge is to weave these multilevel 
symbol systems together into symphonic harmonies, which the 
psychiatrist would call hallucination and which I would call a 
fulfilled level of symphonic harmony, where you select the 
macroscopic symbol which fits the sensory orgasm, which har- 
monizes with the cellular dialect at the moment you get them 
all flowing together. 

And just as humor at the level of normal symbols is the 
juxtaposition of two game counters from difiEerent games, and 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 204 

we laugh, there's a cosmic humor in which you bring together 
inappropriate symbols from different levels. So with all the 
games we have going in the social-mental world, we can ex- 
quisitely complicate and multiply them in fascinating diversity 
as we add these new symbol systems, of the many senses and of 
the infinite number of cellular dialects. 

Krassner: There's a slightly cosmic irony in all this. Because 
of the cutting off of LSD from reliable sources, the black market 
will increase, with inferior products as a result, so that some 
people may end up just getting a sort of escalated high, maybe 
higher than pot, but never experiencing the kind of profound 
insight into levels of reality that you talk about. 

Leary: I can't be terribly alarmed by that. 

Krassner: Except that they might think, "We must be doing 
something wrong." 

Leary: Well, anyone who buys LSD on the black market and 
assumes that he's buying what the seller tells him he's getting, 
unless he knows that seller, is naive. 

Or the person who has an LSD session in a surrounding 
which is ugly and disharmonious, whether that be a psychiatric 
clinic or a pad or a penthouse, is naive and foolish. 

I can't take the responsibility for, or devote any of my energy 
to, lamenting the inevitable torrent of millions of unprepared, 
foolishly organized LSD sessions. More than anyone else in the 
world, I've been lecturing to the point of exhaustion to tell 
people to know what they're doing. 

Krassner: On the other hand, is there a danger from an 

Leary: No. There's no such thing as an overdose of LSD. 
There's no known lethal quantity. Obviously, the more you 
take, the harder the first hit. But another one of the beautiful 
things about LSD, it even up-levels the numbers game on 
dosage, once you get beyond 100, 200 gamma. It's very hard to 
play games with LSD within the quantity game. 

But if someone buys a sugar cube and finds that they're get- 
ting a pot high, they should realize that they've just gotten 
enough, maybe 25 or 50 gamma, which is going to bring them 

A Trip with Paul Krassner [ 205 

to the sensory level, and enjoy it, and not feel there's something 
wrong with me that I can't find God in the pill, what's going 
on? Common sense and careful preparation will guide you 
through these dilemmas. 

In the early days of LSD research, we all had to struggle with 
these problems. In the early days of any new form of energy, 
you run into these problems. When you think of the reckless 
danger of unprepared people who went in those canvas and 
wood airplanes that the Wright brothers turned up, that was 
absolute madness, but they did it and they had a right to do it, 
knowing they were taking a risk. 

In the early days of our research, I took all sorts of strange 
drugs that came from the South Seas and from South America 
and from Morocco to find out what they did and about dosage. 

The early people who discovered the microscopes, before they 
really knew how to grind lenses, were getting different amplifi- 
cations and flaws in the lens. There's no security and there's no 
guarantee of complete safety in life and the realistic attitude, 
the scientific attitude, is to check out, recognize, compare, but 
keep doing it, because you're only going to learn by trial and 

Krassner: Recently I spoke at Harvard Law School, and 
when someone asked about the five-year-old girl who acciden- 
tally ate an LSD sugar cube left in the refrigerator by her uncle, 
I replied that she's back in school now and was assigned to write 
a composition called "My Trip." 

Leary: Is that true? 

Krassner: No, I was being facetious, but the significant thing 
is that you thought it might be possible. 

Leary: Well, first of all, about that little girl, the facts of the 
matter are that she is back in school, she was discharged from 
the hospital and there's no evidence that she was harmed. The 
scandal of that case was not the poor uncle, who left his cube 
around and was made to feel guilty and criminal about it; the 
scandal of that case were the politically minded doctors and 
district attorneys who made dramatic announcements about 
danger and "ruined for life.'* 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 206 

We don't know what the effect would be on a little girl, and 
from all of the evidence so far, we would be led to believe that 
her reaction to that LSD depends entirely upon the attitude of 
the adults around her, and if when they discovered that she'd 
taken LSD, they treated it as a rare opportunity and turned off 
their fear and their guilt and their selfishness as bad mothers 
and bad uncles and bad fathers, and spent the next 12 hours 
really being with that kid, it would have been a glorious 

Even under the circumstances of ruthlessly dragging this poor 
little girl down to the hospital, pumping her stomach which 
has no medical meaning because the LSD takes over within a 
few seconds and is metabolized very quickly (of course that's 
just to make the doctors feel better, pumping out the girl's 
stomach) even in spite of all that, there were points where she 
was alternately laughing and crying. Well, I could understand 
that; I'd be doing the same. 

But in spite of all of the brutal mishandling and the selfish 
copping out on almost everyone's part I can't comment on the 
uncle or the parents because I don't know what they did but 
the public health officials who were protecting their interests 
and using this as part of their campaign, still there's no reason 
to believe that this girl won't look back on it in the future as a 
great experience and that she won't be more likely to be a tuned- 
in, turned-on person in the future. There's more chance of that 
than there is that there'll be any damage, in spite of the emo- 
tional brutality to which she was subjected. 

Krassner: Do you think that drugs will be given to young 
children some day? 

Leary: In general, I predict that psychedelic drugs will be 
used in all schools in the very near future as educational devices 
not only drugs like marijuana and LSD, to teach kids how to 
use their sense organs and their cellular equipment effectively, 
but new and more powerful psychochemicals like RNA and 
other proteins which are really going to revolutionize our con- 
cepts of ourselves and education. 

So that the notion about writing an essay in the first grade on 

A Trip with Paul Krassner [ 207 

your trip is not just science fiction, it's definitely going to 
happen. People should learn to use their nervous system and 
their cellular equipment before they're taught reading and 
writing and symbolic techniques. Because if you don't know 
how to handle your native equipment, you're going to be ad- 
dicted to, and limited by, the artifacts of symbols. 

I intend to have more children, and I'll tell you this, that I'm 
not going to push symbols on my kids I won't keep anything 
away from them, but I'm not going to push symbols on my kids 
till they're ten, twelve, maybe fifteen years old. 

I will never encourage them to read a book. I will encourage 
them to tune in on their own internal vocabularies and cellular 
Libraries of Congress. I'll teach them how to live as an animal 
and as a creature of nature and decode and communicate with 
the many energies around them, before I will force artifactual 
symbols which are only 200 or 300 years old at best on their 2- 
billion-year-old cellular machineries. And my kids feel the same 
way and will probably be doing that with their children. 

Krassner: Can you see that being declared unconstitutional 
in a case brought by a psychedelic Madalyn Murray, claiming 
that it's a violation of separation of church and state, and that 
she doesn't mind if kids take LSD at home but it shouldn't be 
compulsory in public schools? 

Leary: Well, it's conceivable, and of course Madalyn Murray 
is playing a fascinating role in society today testing out game 
situations. I don't intend to send my future children to schools. 
I'd rather have them take heroin than go to a first-grade gram- 
mar school in this country. 

Krassner: Would you set any age limit working backward 
chronologically as to a child taking LSD? 

Leary: I think this has to be tested. LSD should be used at 
that moment when the kid's symbol system freezes, because 
what LSD does is allow you to unhook and regroup your symbol 
system. I have no evidence on this, but I hope in the future that 
we will have. 

Krassner: [Scene II: Millbrook, a week later] Here's a 
typical reporter's question: How do you feel about your indict- 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 208 

ment in Poughkeepsie this morning for possession o mari- 

Leary: It had almost no effect on me. I would' ve been more 
interested to learn that the Mets had won their third straight 
game, probably because I know I'm probably never going to 
come to trial and that I'm not terribly involved in the legal 

Krassner: Being back here in Millbrook, I was thinking about 
your second wife. I assume you took LSD together reimprint- 
ing on each other every week increasing the depth of your 
relationship. And yet the marriage broke up on the honeymoon 
trip. . . . 

Leary: As I said when I was on trial in Laredo and I was 
asked who gave me the pot, I'll be glad to describe any of my 
own experiences, but I don't want to make any comments 
which involve other people. Any comments about my marriage 
would be involving someone who's very dear and sacred to me, 
whose privacy should not be violated. 

Krassner: I appreciate that. The relevance I had in mind 
was the apparent failure of LSD imprinting. 

Leary: I'll be glad to talk about the effects of imprinting on 
interpersonal relationships. I consider this the most important 
aspect of the LSD challenge the business of imprinting and 

Every time you take LSD you completely suspend you step 
outside of the symbolic chessboard which you have built up 
over the long years of social conditioning. And you whirl 
though different levels of neurological and cellular energy, 
continually flowing and changing. 

Your symbolic mind is flashing in and out. You never lose 
your mind during an LSD session. It's always there, but it's one 
of a thousand cameras that are flashing away. Of course, the 
LSD freak-out, or paranoia, is where the symbolic mind freezes 
any aspect of the LSD session and defines a new reality, which 
can be positive or negative. 

And toward the end of an LSD session you begin to re- 
imprint. This is a very crucial time in the LSD session because 

A Trip with Paul Krassner [ 209 

you take a new picture of yourself, of the world and of the 
people around you, both real and remembered. It's particularly 
tricky, because what you're doing during this imprinting period 
is getting a new perspective of yourself and the other people. 
Now this is tricky, because you may come out of an LSD session 
with a very different picture of yourself. 

If the LSD session has been microscopically revealing of your 
own shortcomings and you're not experienced enough to be 
able to let this flow, too, and accept these aspects in yourself as a 
fragmentary part of a great, endlessly changing design, then you 
come out depressed. You've taken a bad picture of yourself. 
This accounts for the LSD depression, which can last for many 
days and for many months. 

You can also take a negative picture of LSD itself, and you 
come out of the session saying, "Never again." So the challenge, 
number one, is to make a neurological contract with yourself 
that you're not going to take too finally and dogmatically any 
picture that you click or come out with during an LSD session 
because you have to dedicate yourself to the ongoing yoga of 
taking LSD many times, and not copping out just because 
you've taken one bad picture. If you do that, you have lost the 
opportunity to continue to use your neurological camera. 

Now the same thing is true if you have an LSD session with 
somebody else, particularly with your wife or with a person 
with whom you have an ongoing relationship. It's perfectly pos- 
sible after any LSD session to come out with a negative picture 
of the other person. You may have had many LSD sessions with 
someone, but that 13th session may close on a note of horror. 

A natural reaction, of course, after this is to say, "Well, I 
never want to take LSD with that person again," because of that 
last freaky session. That is, from the standpoint of neurological 
ethics, a game violation. The neurological contract should have 
provisions for continuing the sessions together until you get to 
that point where you're both convinced that you've explored all 
the relevant areas in each other and in the relationship. 

Krassner: There's a man who shall remain nameless who has 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 210 

taken LSD and continues his game of professional war planning 
for the Pentagon. . . . 

Leary: Why don't you name him? 

Krassner: I don't want to betray a confidence. 

Leary: Can I name him? 

Krassner: If you want to, sure. 

Leary: Herman Kahn. 

Krassner: Aren't you violating his privacy? 

Leary: That's no confidence. I didn't give him LSD. Many 
people I know have told me about his taking LSD. 

Krassner: Each one of whom he told in confidence, probably. 

Leary: Do you think the time has come to share with a 
waiting world the names of the prominent people whose lives 
have been changed by taking LSD? 

Krassner: If you don't think it's unethical, I think the time 
has come. 

Leary: That's why I admire Steve Allen. Because he has not 
let his narrower secular games and they're highly sensitive, 
public and even political now interfere with his basic integ- 
rity. He has said on television that he has taken LSD and it was 
the most important experience of his life. The main question is 
whether in the Senate hearings on May 25th [due to legal prob- 
lems Leary was unable to testify] I should illustrate the effec- 
tiveness of LSD by describing the positive effects on famous 
people who have used LSD. 

I testified in Washington last week before the Senate Juvenile 
Delinquency Committee. I brought down my son and daughter 
to sit next to me, for many reasons. I wanted them to share 
my they've been in jail with me, they've been deported from 
several countries with me, they were indicted with me they 
might as well live through the paranoia of the Senate hearings 
with me; but also as a living illustration of two famous juvenile 
delinquents my daughter, eighteen, who is under a heavy 
sentence at the present time, and my son, sixteen, who has been 
arrested and jailed ten times. 

During these hearings, a police captain [Alfred Trembly] 
from Los Angeles went through the same dreary dance of the 

A Trip with Paul Krassner [ 211 

cases that his agents had arrested during LSD sessions. He was 
reading from case histories "We received a tip from an in- 
former about an LSD party on a beach near Los Angeles. Two 
of my agents discovered two men sitting by the ocean staring 
out over the sea. As they approached and the two men saw them 
coming, they fell upon their knees, and when the agents walked 
up to them, they turned up and said, *We love you.' At this 
point, or shortly thereafter, the two men ran into the water, and 
my police officers had to rush into the tide to save their lives." 

Now I was sitting next to my two children at these hearings, 
and as each of these so-called horror stories developed, we 
leaned back and said, **Why, of course, we understand exactly 
how and why such highly harmonious and natural develop- 
ments would occur, like falling on your knees at the approach 
of two police officers." 

I realize that Senator Dodd and Senator Kennedy were much 
more impressed by these stories of horror, so that when I testi- 
fied about the philosophic and political realities involved, my 
testimony seemed tame and professorial, and that's why I'm 
suggesting that perhaps at the next Senate hearing, I should 
bring some case histories of my own. 

One would illustrate how Bill Wilson, who founded Alco- 
holics Anonymous, has told many of his friends that LSD is a 
natural and inevitable cure for alcoholism. 

Or I could tell the interesting case history of Chuck Dederich, 
who founded Synanon and this is not a breach of confidence, 
by the way. He's told reporters that the insights which cured his 
alcoholism and led to the founding of the only institutional 
cure for heroin addiction came from his LSD session. 

Or I could tell the story of Herman Kahn, who by the way is 
often misunderstood, but Herman is not a war planner, he's a 
civil defense planner. Herman's claim is that he is one of the 
few highly placed Americans who's willing to gaze with naked 
eyes upon the possibilities of atomic warfare and come up with 
solutions to this horrible possibility. Perhaps his LSD sessions 
have given him this revelation and courage. And even his 
phrase "spasm war," which to the intellectual liberal sounds 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 212 

gruesome, is a powerful, cellular metaphor describing an event 
which the very phrase itself, "spasm war," might prevent. 

Or I could remind the Senate and the American public of 
Gary Grant, whose first child was born in his sixties after re- 
newal and revigorations which he attributes to LSD. 

Or I could mention Henry Luce and Clare Boothe Luce, two 
Americans whose power and game-playing skill can hardly be 
discounted and who have always been obsessed with a religious 
quest, both of whom have taken LSD many times. 

Krassner: Which may well be why Life magazine had a let's- 
not-be-too-hasty editorial. But you can't really generalize about 
this wound between the generations, then. 

Leary: I testified in Washington last week before the Senate 
Juvenile Delinquency Gommittee. I was welcomed by Senator 
Dodd with affectionate and respectful comments, and then I 
began my short statement, which had to do with the breakdown 
of communication between the generations, the middle-aged 
and the young. And just as I was toward the end of this, Teddy 
Kennedy who had rushed back into town unexpectedly to 
appear at these televised hearings interrupted me by saying, 
"Mr. Leary, I don't understand what you're talking about." 

Krassner: That's because he doesn't know which generation 
to identify with. 

Leary: That's the particular problem I was talking about, 
the breakdown of communication. But I was disturbed by the 
obvious hostility on the part of Edward Kennedy. He didn't 
know what he was talking about. He hadn't researched the 
subject because I can be challenged on many levels on many 
issues. This seemed to be an unprepared and instinctive attack 
on Teddy Kennedy's part, upon what he obviously felt was an 
unpopular and non-vote-getting position. 

I was disturbed by this because I've been saying over and over 
again that the position that one takes on the LSD controversy 
and the sexual freedom issue is the most perfectly predicted by 
the person's age. A Supreme Gourt of seventeen-year-olds would 
never have convicted Ralph Ginzburg. 

A Trip with Paul Krassner [ 213 

Krassner: I think you're wrong. It depends on which seven- 
teen-year-olds. The ones you and I know wouldn't have, but I 
don't think you can be that rigid. . . . 

Leary: I'm obviously wrong, because Teddy Kennedy is 
one of the youngest members of the Senate, whom I would 
hopefully expect to be most alert to the needs and impulses of 
the younger generation. He proved to be hostile, whereas Sena- 
tor Dodd, much his senior, was courteous, although bewildered. 

Krassner: Dr. Nathan Kline was quoted in Newsweek: 
**Under drugs like pot you tend to feel that you love everyone 
and the world is a great place. And if anyone wants to go to bed 
with you, it's just one more great experience to share. Preg- 
nancy becomes the most frequent side effect of pot." Now, 
you've said that the closer one communicates with his cells 
with or without consciousness-expanding drugs one knows 
when one is making a baby. How would you reconcile 

Leary: Well, pot does not turn you on to your cells; pot 
turns you on to your senses. It's true that marijuana is a fan- 
tastically effective aphrodisiac, and the person who understands 
pot can weave together a symphony of visual, auditory, olfac- 
tory, gustatory, tactual sensitivity to make lovemaking an ad- 
venture which dwarfs the imagination of the pornographers. 

This has nothing to do with pregnancy. 

I would suggest that before believing what Dr. Kline says 
about marijuana, we ask him, has he ever smoked it, and has he 
done a serious study of the effects of this fascinating and holy 
drug? The answer, of course, would be no. 

I would say that the drug that gets you knocked up, blindly 
and unconsciously, is alcohol. Alcohol does reduce inhibitions- 
people become aggressive, indiscriminately loving or hostile, 
weeply self-pitying or self-expansive. Alcohol stimulates the 
social emotions, and it's well-known that alcohol is a seductive 
instrument which will produce round heels in any woman. 

This has nothing to do with sensual enhancement, which 
marijuana produces. Alcohol dulls the senses, reduces every- 
thing to a crude wrestling match. I would say that alcohol has 
produced more unplanned pregnancies than any drug around. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 214 

Under marijuana, with your senses heightened, you're not 
about to go to bed with a crude seducer. 

Krassner: And yet, for some, pot has taken the place of 
alcohol as part of the seduction process. 

Leary: Yes, but it's a much higher-level form of seduction. 
It's not seduction at all, it's a highly intricate, delicate, exquisite 
enhancer of communication. If you have an alcoholic man 
coming on to a girl who is smoking marijuana, nothing's going 
to happen except the horrified shrinking back on the part of the 
marijuana smoker. 

Krassner: According to the Wall Street Journal, "Hallucina- 
tory drugs, including LSD, have joined nerve gases and a multi- 
tude of disabling germs in the nation's arsenal of chemical and 
biological weapons. . . ." 

Leary: The fascinating thing about LSD is that everyone 
wants to control it. 

The person who doesn't want to use it wants to control it so 
nobody else can use it. The cops want to take it away from 
youngsters and put them in jail for controlling it and keep it 
themselves. The researchers want it to do research; the psychia- 
trists want it as an adjunct to psychotherapy. I've had dozens of 
ministers tell me, "This is an authentic religious experience, 
but its use in any other context except the spiritual is a sacri- 
lege." The artist wants to control it to win the Nobel Prize. 

No matter why they want to use it, what gain they have that's 
going to be facilitated by it, they all want to have it in their 
hands. And I, for one, think they're all right, that everyone 
should have it in their little hot hands, for whatever use they 

And another statement about LSD came in the Senate com- 
mittee hearing when Senator Dodd said, "Well, this material 
has to be controlled because I understand it's odorless, colorless, 
and . . ." He started fumbling, and I said, "Tasteless, Senator 
Dodd." He said, "Oh, yes, tasteless." 

I said, "Senator Dodd, in addition to that, it's free. You can 
make 20,000 doses of LSD for about a hundred dollars, which 
means that LSD is less expensive than pure water itself" and at 

A Trip with Paul Krassner [ 215 

this point I held up a glass of water. He said, "All the more 
reason to control it." I said, "Yes, Senator, and all the clearer 
that you can't possibly control it." 

Krassner: Every time I laugh I get high. 

Leary: Laughing is definitely antiadministration. 

Krassner: A couple of years ago you told me that the free- 
speech movement in Berkeley was playing right onto the game 
boards of the administration and the police, and that the 
students could shake up the establishment much more by just 
staying in their rooms and changing their nervous systems. But 
now that you're involved in the fighting-the-law game, do you 
still feel that way? 

Leary: Yes. Any external or social action, unless it's based on 
expanded consciousness, is a robot behavior including political 
action in favor of LSD and marijuana. 

And you will notice that I have not suggested traditional 
political action in defense of marijuana and LSD. I'm involved 
in legal action to protect myself and other people from going to 
jail. But my attitude toward this legal skirmishing is extremely 

My advice to myself and to everyone else, particularly young 
people, is to turn on, tune in and drop out. By drop out, I mean 
to detach yourself from involvement in secular, external social 
games. But the dropping out has to occur internally before it 
occurs externally. I'm not telling kids just to quit school; I'm 
not telling people just to quit their jobs. That is an inevitable 
development in the process of turning on and tuning in. 

Mostly all social decisions are made on the basis of symbolic 
pressure symbolic reactions. Most men and women who drop 
out of the secular game to become monks and nuns are doing it 
under the pressure of freaky sexual or social game harassments. 
Such decisions are blind and unconscious. 

American society's an insane and destructive enterprise. But 
before you can take any posture in relationship to this society, 
you have to sanitize yourself internally. Then you drop out, not 
in rebellion but as an act of harmony. 

My comments about the student rebellion, and even the civil 

The Politics of Ecstasy [216 

rights movement, stem from these convictions. I have no inter- 
est in students rebelling against university authorities to make a 
better university, because they can't. I have no sympathy with a 
civil rights movement which attempts to "raise" the Negro to 
the level of the middle-class white American. 

The university is an institution for consciousness contraction, 
and any attempt to give students more power and responsibility 
in running universities is a growth of collective insanity. The 
most hopeful development in the last 10 years has been the drop- 
out phenomenon. This is unique in human history. 

For thousands of years the goal of children of poor people, of 
politically impoverished people, has been to get more educa- 
tion, because education means power, wealth, control. Now for 
the first time we have a generation which is dropping out a 
tremendously exciting, revolutionary symptom. 

It means to me that many of the young people are dealing 
themselves out of the power game and the control game. 

Instead of picketing university administration buildings, I 
think young people should first turn on, then tune in, and then 
walk off the campus. While I have great sympathy for the draft- 
card burners, I would still prefer them to sit in front of a 
psychedelic shrine in their own home and burn a dollar bill. 
Or, as the ironic John Bircher has suggested, burn their Social 
Security cards. 

Krassner: I want to relate "The Spring Grove Experiment" 
which we watched on TV to your comments about turning on 
and dropping out. Now one of the patients, an alcoholic, was 
given LSD in a psychotherapeutic context, and his cure as far 
as the program was concerned was dropping in. 

Leaky: Right. He was going to night school, learning of all 
things accounting, and he was going to get a better job. [Leary 
makes a strange sound.] 

Krassner: I won't know how to spell that. 

Leary: B-r-e-u-o-o-o-g-h! That's what I just said, which is 
Vishnu's laugh of cosmic horror. 

Sanford linger [the psychiatrist on the CBS-TV show] took 
LSD the first time in my house at Newton five years ago. Half- 

A Trip with Paul Krassner [ 217 

way through the session, he sat up in the room, and he said to 
me something to this effect: "Whooooo-oshl What do we do 
now? Where do we go with this? How do we get it across to 

Now there are several ways in which you can diagnose one of 
our graduates in the LSD profession. If they sit on the floor with 
a patient, they're one of our graduates. If they hold hands with 
or touch the patient physically during the session, they're one of 
our graduates. If they use religious and philosophic metaphors, 
they're one of our graduates, and you will note all of these 
themes running through the television program tonight. The 
psychiatric approach to the selling of the psychedelic experience 
is like selling Christ because He makes you happier, gets you a 
better job, makes you more money. Everyone receives the 
message of LSD at the level to which their receptive apparatus is 
tuned, and I've no objection to and considerable admiration for 
the mental health approach. Although it's shortsighted, narrow, 
it obviously gets to more people in the middle-aged bracket 
than / get to; I horrify and terrorize middle-aged people. 

And you'll notice that the theme of that TV show was 
pitched directly to the heart of the middle-aged neurosis the 
meaninglessness of life, the breakdown of communication with 
the husband, the feeling of emptiness and being a fake, the 
feeling of having consistently failed, the notion of "Can I die 
and be reborn again?" These are the spiritual and psychological 
terrors of the middle-aged, and Dr. Sanford Unger and his tele- 
vision collaborators accurately sensed and effectively talked to 
these anguishing dilemmas. 

Krassner: What did you learn from your spiritual quest in 

Leary: I spent four months on my honeymoon in a little 
cottage on a ridge which looked out at the Himalayas. This 
cottage had no electricity, gas or water, and was rented from the 
Methodist Church, which also supplied a Moslem cook, who 
also supplied me once a week, after his shopping trip to the 
village, with a finger-size stick of attar or hashish. 

This was one of the most serene and productive periods of my 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 218 

life. I spent at least two hours a day in meditation, an hour of 
which was facilitated by the use of this excellent village-grown 
and hand-rolled hashish. And I spent 1 day a week, as I have for 
the last 6 years, in an LSD session. I spent about 2 hours a day 
listening to Lama Anargarika Govinda talk about the / Ching 
and Tibetan yoga. And I spent several hours a day thinking 
about how man can get back into harmonious interaction with 

During this period I worked out very detailed notes and 
blueprints for the next 500 years. It's an interesting thing about 
man and man's mind and man's intellectual productions. 
Rarely if ever have men produced a blueprint for the future 
which goes beyond their own life. 

We are encouraged at the present time in America to revere 
and admire such far-seeing organizations as Rand Corporation, 
which is planning our military defense as far as 10 years ahead. 
Occasionally, in the last hundred years, men called conserva- 
tionists have pleaded with legislators to pay some attention to 
our rape of the rivers, forests, prairies, and skies. Until very 
recently, such men were considered kooks and far-out do-gooders. 

Before I went to India, I talked to many men who are in 
strategic planning positions in our intellectual establishment 
the top officials of Xerox and IBM, for example and I asked 
them, who's planning for the future? Are the Chinese Com- 
munists? Are the Russians? Are we? Now it's possible, and I 
hope it's probable, that there are secret agencies in our govern- 
ment, and the Chinese government, planning for the future, 
but I doubt it. And furthermore, I suspect that whatever 
planning is done is at the lowest level of imperialistic politics. 

It's my ambition to be the holiest, wisest, most beneficial man 
alive today. Now this may sound megalomaniac, but I don't see 
why. I don't see why every one of your readers, every person 
who lives in the world, shouldn't have that ambition. What else 
should you try to be? The president of the board, or the 
chairman of the department, or the owner of this and that? 

Krassner: But why not drop out of even that? 

Leaky: I'm ready. And do what? You've got to name me a 

A Trip with Paul Krassner [ 219 

better game. And this has been my challenge for the last six 
years. I'm ready to give up LSD at a moment's notice if someone 
will suggest to me a game which is more exciting, more promis- 
ing, more expansive, more ecstatic. Tell me, Paul. I'll take off 
my shoes and follow you. 

Krassner: Suppose I suggest the possibility of a better game 
which I might not have been qualified to do a year ago, because 
I hadn't taken LSD yet, but I've had it three times now, which 
gives me the arrogance to ask wouldn't a better game, ideally, 
be to do it without LSD? 

Leary: Yes, that's part of my plan. LSD . . . what is LSD? 
LSD is not a thing, a drug. LSD is simply a key to opening up 
sensory, cellular and precellular consciousness so that you flow 
and harmonize with these different levels. 

Now if we understood how to raise children so that they 
wouldn't be addicted to symbols and they wouldn't be addicted 
to stupefacient drugs such as television, alcohol, then we 
wouldn't need LSD. Nature always produces the cure for the 
particular disease which has evolved. 

The disease that is crushing and oppressing this planet today 
is man's possessive and manipulatory symbolic mind and the 
cure for the disease has been provided. I have no illusions. I've 
never made any great claims for LSD. It's simply a particular 
evolutionary molecule at exactly that moment when it's needed. 

The young generation needs LSD to cure the symbolic 
plague. Their children won't need LSD except for the mentally 
ill. The mentally ill in the second generation to come will be 
those who get addicted to symbols, power. 

Some of my visionary colleagues think that we're going to 
have to kill the members of our species who get addicted to 
control and power in the future. I don't. I think that LSD 
treatment will bring them back in harmony. 

But the third generation from now will not need LSD. The 
fourth generation from now will be in such perfect harmony 
with every form of molecular, cellular, seed and sensory energy 
that LSD will be unnecessary. 

Krassner: Aren't you ignoring human nature? 

The Politics of Ecstasy [220 

Leary: What do you mean by human nature? 

Krassner: I mean in addition to all the cooperative and 
compassionate qualities the orneriness, the power drives, the 
aggressiveness, the hostility that realistically . . . 

Leary: Who are you to say what's real? 

Krassner: I'm describing what exists by my perception. 

Leary: It is an unfortunate aspect of recent human history 
that those human beings who are addicted or driven to power, 
control and murder have tried to kill off the gentle, harmoni- 
ous, open people. But they haven't; they've just pushed them 
underground. The present spasm of control, power and murder 
is not human nature. 

It is true that as animals, and as carnivorous animals, we have 
had to kill to live. And it's true at every level of life that species 
have to eat each other, species have to combat each other to find 
their place in the overall scheme. But this is a harmonious and 
fully conscious procedure. 

Now you called me on my eating steak in New York the other 
night. I feel that part of me is mammalian and does demand 
and need animal fiber. In my plan for the future, there will be 
some carnivorous activity. We will be food-conscious, and we'll 
pay respect to the rights of the other species. 

As a matter of fact, starting next week, we're going to have 
animals on this property here in Millbrook. Some of these 
animals we will raise to slaughter, but we will not kill these 
animals until we know them well and have had LSD sessions 
with them, until we have seen that they have produced off- 
spring. We will then preserve their offspring. 

We will keep the sacred soul of the animal alive, because the 
soul of the living organism is its genetic code, and it's perfectly 
natural and right that one species eat another species as long as 
they don't wipe the species out. 

Now man's use of animals, when you raise them just for 
slaughter anonymously, impersonally and in robot fashion- 
produces a robot species, which is modern civilized man. In a 
fully conscious society, we're aware of the fact that we're going 
to have to eat each other. 

A Trip with Paul Krassner [ 221 

My plan for Millbrook and my blueprint for the world is that 
we will exist in harmonious, interspecies interactions. I plan to 
have in Millbrook this spring members of 7 species, who'll all 
be feeding off each other and supporting each other. We'll have 
fungi, plants, insects, amphibia, reptiles, fish, mammals. 

We'll feed each other, we'll protect each other, we'll protect 
each other's offspring and we'll build up a cycle of interspecies 
harmony and mutual collaboration. And we'll pay respect to 
the facts that the symbolic human mind can't face one, that we 
all die; two, that we all eat each other; three, we must all 
provide for each other's genetic or soul growth. 

So I see no ambiguities or conflicts in the plan which I sug- 
gest and what you say is human nature I see as a freaky, recently 
faddist and, in the long run, irrelevant tendency to blindly, 
ruthlessly destroy other forms of human life and other forms of 
species life on this planet, which in the long run is obviously 

Human nature is like every other nature of living creature on 
this planet, basically alert, open, conscious, collaborative. 

Krassner: And competitive. 

Leary: And competitive, right. But there's a difference be- 
tween competition and murder. The New York Yankees com- 
pete with the Washington Senators and they don't want to kill 
them with baseball bats, because they realize that if the Yankees 
were to beanball and baseball-bat out of existence the Senators, 
there'd be no more game of baseball. 

And that, dear Paul, is the lesson of evolution which my cells 
have taught me. Balance: competition, mutual cannibalism 
and, above all, protection of the young of all species. 


Start Your Own Religion 

The Purpose of Life Is Religious Discovery 

That intermediate manifestation of the divine process which we 
call the DNA code has spent the last 2 billion years making this 
planet a Garden of Eden. An intricate web has been woven, a 
delicate fabric of chemical-electrical-seed-tissue-organism- 
species. A dancing, joyous harmony of energy transactions is 
rooted in the 12 inches of topsoil which covers the rock 

core of this planet. 

Into this Garden of Eden each human being is born perfect. 
We were all bom divine mutants, the DNA code's best answer 
to joyful survival on this planet. An exquisite package for 
adaptation based on 2 billion years of consumer research 
(RNA) and product design (DNA) . 

But each baby, although born perfect, immediately finds 
himself in an imperfect, artificial, disharmonious social system 
which systematically robs him of his divinity. 

And the social systems where did they come from? 

Individual societies begin in harmonious adaptation to the 
environment and, like individuals, quickly get trapped into 
nonadaptive, artificial, repetitive sequences. 

When the individual's behavior and consciousness get hooked 
to a routine sequence of external actions, he is a dead robot, 


ouv own 

Cover of the first privately printed edition of 
Start Your Own Religion (1967). 



a re-enactment 
of a great relgious 
myth using psychedelic 
methods senscry medi - 
tatkn, syrrbd-overicad, 
media-mb^ mdecular 
and cell alar phtaskg, 
partorume, darce, 
sound-light and 

Mail Orders: 
John Kornfeld 
Associates, 870 
Market St. 
Tickets go on 
sale shortly at 
all major box offices 
in San Francisco, East Bay 
and local cannpuses. 
$4.75, $3.75, $3.00. and $2. 25 . 

"Death of the Mind" Advertisement for a "psychedelic 
celebration" in the San Francisco Oracle (Dec. 1966). 

start Your Own Religion [ 225 

When the individual's behavior and consciousness get hooked 
to a routine sequence of external actions, he is a dead robot, 

When the individual's behavior and consciousness get hooked 
to a routine sequence of external actions, he is a dead robot, and 
it is time for him to die and be reborn. Time to "drop out," 
"turn on," and "tune in." This period of robotization is called 
the Kali Yuga, the Age of Strife and Empire, the peak of so- 
called civilization, the Johnson Administration, etc. This re- 
lentless law of death, life, change is the rhythm of the galaxies 
and the seasons, the rhythm of the seed. It never stops. 

Drop Out. Turn On. Tune In 

Drop Out detach yourself from the external social drama 
which is as dehydrated and ersatz as TV. 

Turn On find a sacrament which returns you to the temple 
of God, your own body. Go out of your mind. Get high. 

Tune In be reborn. Drop back in to express it. Start a 
new sequence of behavior that reflects your vision. 

But the sequence must continue. You cannot stand still. 

Death. Life. Structure. 

D. L. S. 

D. L. S. D. L. S. D. 

L. S. D. L. S. D. L. 

S. D. L. S. D 

Any action that is not a conscious expression of the drop-out- 
turn-on-tune-in-dropout rhythm is the dead posturing of robot 
actors on the fake-prop TV studio stage set that is called Ameri- 
can reality. 

Actions which are conscious expressions of the turn-on, tune- 
in, drop-out rhythm are religious. 

The wise person devotes his life exclusively to the religious 
search for therein is found the only ecstasy, the only meaning. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 224 

Anything else is a competitive quarrel over (or Hollywood- 
love sharing of) television studio props. 

How to Turn On 

To turn on is to detach from the rigid addictive focus on the 
fake-prop TV studio set and to refocus on the natural energies 
within the body. 

To turn on, you go out of your mind and: 

1 . Come to your senses focus on sensory energies. 

2. Resurrect your body focus on somatic energies. 

3. Drift down cellular memory tracks beyond the body's 
space-time focus on cellular energies. 

4. Decode the genetic code. 

Note well: at each of these levels (sensory, somatic, cellular, 
molecular) , attention can be directed at energy changes within 
or without the body. If attention is directed externally during 
the session, the outside world is experienced in terms of a non- 
symbolic energy language focus. Be careful. This can be shock- 
ing. The props of the TV studio stage set are suddenly ex- 

1. As sensory (e.g., the room is alive, out of control, explod- 
ing with light and sound) 

2. As somatic (e.g., the room is alive, undulating with diges- 
tive rhythm) 

3. As cellular (e.g., all props and actors take on a stylized, 
mythic, reincarnate hue) 

4. As molecular (e.g., all props and actors shimmer imper- 
sonally as vibratory mosaics) 

Recognition eliminates fear and confusion. To turn on, you 
need maps and manuals. 

To turn on, you must learn how to pray. Prayer is the 
compass, the gyroscope for centering and stillness. 

Turning on is a complex, demanding, frightening, confusing 
process. It requires diligent yoga. 

Turning on requires a guide who can center you at the TV- 

start Your Own Religion [ 225 

stage-prop level and at the sensory, somatic, cellular, and molec- 
ular levels. 

When you turn on, remember: you are not a naughty boy 
getting high for kicks. 

You are a spiritual voyager furthering the most ancient, 
noble quest of man. When you turn on, you shed the fake-prop 
TV studio and costume and join the holy dance of the vision- 
aries. You leave LB J and Bob Hope; you join Lao-tse, Christ, 
Blake. Never underestimate the sacred meaning of the turn-on. 

To turn on, you need a sacrament. A sacrament is a visible 
external thing which turns the key to the inner doors. A 
sacrament must bring about bodily changes. A sacrament flips 
you out of the TV-studio game and harnesses you to the 2- 
billion-year-old flow inside. 

A sacrament which works is dangerous to the establishment 
which runs the fake-prop TV studio and to that part of your 
mind which is hooked to the studio game. 

Each TV-prop society produces exactly that body-changing 
sacrament which will flip out the mind of the society. 

Today the sacrament is LSD. New sacraments are coming 

Sacraments wear out. They become part of the social TV- 
studio game. Treasure LSD while it still works. In fifteen years 
it will be tame, socialized, and routine. 

How to Tune In 

You cannot stay turned on all the time. You cannot stay any- 
place all the time. That's a law of evolution. After the revela- 
tion it is necessary to drop back in, return to the fake-prop TV 
studio and initiate small changes which reflect the glory and the 
meaning of the turn-on. You change the way you move, the way 
you dress, and you change your corner of the TV-studio society. 
You begin to look like a happy saint. Your home slowly be- 
comes a shrine. Slowly, gently, you start seed transformations 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 226 

around you. Psychedelic art. Psychedelic style. Psychedelic 
music. Psychedelic dance. 

Suddenly you discover you have dropped out. 

How to Drop Out 

Drop out means exactly that: drop out. 

Most of the activity of most Americans goes into robot per- 
formances on the TV-studio stage. Fake. Unnatural. Automatic. 

Drop out means detach yourself from every TV drama which 
is not in the rhythm of the turn-on, tune-in, drop-out cycle. 

Quit school. Quit your job. Don't vote. Avoid all politics. Do 
not waste conscious thinking on TV-studio games. Political 
choices are meaningless. 

To postpone the dropout is to cop out. 

Dismiss your fantasies of infiltrating the social stage-set game. 
Any control you have over television props is their control over 

Dismiss the Judaic-Christian-Marxist-puritan-literary-existen- 
tialist suggestion that the drop-out is escape and that the con- 
formist cop-out is reality. Dropping out is the hardest yoga of 

Make your dropout invisible. No rebellion please! 

To Drop Out, You Must Form Your Own Religion 

The drop-out, turn-on, tune-in rhythm is most naturally done 
in small groups of family members, lovers, and seed friends. 

For both psychedelic and legal reasons, you must form your 
own cult. 

The directors of the TV studio do not want you to live a 
religious life. They will apply every pressure (including 
prison) to keep you in their game. 

Your own mind, which has been corrupted and neurologi- 
cally damaged by years of education in fake-prop TV-studio 
games, will also keep you trapped in the game. 

start Your Own Religion [ 227 

A group liberation cult is required. 

You must form that most ancient and sacred of human 
structures the clan. A clan or cult is a small group of human 
beings organized around a religious goal. 

Remember, you are basically a primate. You are designed by 
the 2-billion-year blueprint to live in a small band. 

You cannot accept the political or spiritual leadership of 
anyone you cannot touch, con-spire (breathe) with, worship 
with, get high with. 

Your clan must be centered on a shrine and a totem spiritual 
energy source. To the clan you dedicate your highest loyalty, 
and to you the clan offers its complete protection. 

But the clan must be centered on religious goals. Religion 
means being tuned in to the natural rhythm. Religion is the 
turn-on, tune-in, drop-out process. 

Because you and your clan brothers are turned on, you will 
radiate energy. You will attract attention hostility from the 
TV establishment, enthusiastic interest from rootless TV actors 
who wish to join your clan. Everyone basically wants to turn on, 
tune in, and drop out. 

Avoid conflict with the establishment. Avoid recruiting and 
rapid growth. Preserve clan harmony. 

Your clan must be limited to essential friends. 

You must guard against the TV power tendency toward ex- 
p a n s i o n. 

Your clan cannot become a mail-order, mass-numbers organi- 

The structure of your clan must be cellular. 

The center of your religion must be a private, holy place. 

The activities of your religion must be limited to the turn-on, 
tune-in, drop-out sequence. Avoid commitments to TV-studio 
power games. 

You must start your own religion. You are God but only you 
can discover and nurture your divinity. No one can start your 
religion for you. 

In particular, those Americans who use psychedelic chemi- 
calsmarijuana, peyote, LSD must appraise their goals and 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 228 

games realistically. You smoke pot? Good. But why? As part o 
your personality game? As part of the American TV-studio 
perspective? To enhance your ego? As part of your TV role as 
hipster, sophisticate, rebel? Because it is the in-thing to do in 
your stage set? Because it is a social-psychological habit? Good. 
Keep on. The "pot game" is a fascinating scenario to act out, 
the entertaining game of illicit kicks. 

There is another way of viewing psychedelic drugs, including 
pot: from the perspective of history. For thousands of years the 
greatest artists, poets, philosophers, and lovers have used con- 
sciousness-expanding substances to turn on, tune in, drop out. 
As part of the search for the meaning of life. As tools to reach 
new levels of awareness. To see beyond the immediate social 
game. For revelation. For light in the darkness of the long 

Every great burst of activity has grown out of a psychedelic 
turn-on. The visionary then rushes back to tune in, to pass on 
the message. A new art form. A new mode of expression. He 
turns others on. A cult is formed. A new TV stage set is 
designed, one that is closer to the family-clan-tribal cell struc- 
ture of our species. 

Do you wish to use marijuana and LSD to get beyond the TV 
scenario? To enhance creativity? As catalysts to deepen wisdom? 

If so, you will be helped by making explicit the religious 
nature of your psychedelic activities. To give meaning to your 
own script, to clarify your relationships with others, and to cope 
with the present legal setup, you will do well to start your own 

How to Start Your Own Religion 

First, decide with whom you will make the voyage of discovery. 
If you have a family, certainly you will include them. If you 
have close friends, you will certainly want to include them. The 
question, with whom do I league for spiritual discovery? is a 
fascinating exercise. 

start Your Own Religion [ 229 

Next, sit down with your spiritual companions and put on a 
page the plan for your trip. Write down and define your: 







Space-time locales 

Mythic context 

Here is an interesting exercise. You will learn a lot about 
yourself and your companions. You will see where you are and 
where you are not. 

You will find it necessary to be explicit about the way your 
clan handles authority, responsibility, sexual relations, money, 
economics, defense, communication. 

In short, you ?re forming not only your own religion but 
your own naiun -^ol'tical imit. This is inevitable because the 
basic political unit is exactly the same as the basic spiritual 
grouping the clan. Did you reah^ beli'^v<^ that church was only 
where you went for an hour on Sunday morning? 

Make your clan unique. Do not slavishly copy the roles and 
language of other groups. The beauty of cellular life is that each 
unit is both so incredibly complexly similar and also so unique. 
The more you understand the infinite complexity of life, the 
more you treasure both the similarities and the differences. But 
you have to be turned on to see it. At the level of the studio- 
prop game, both the similarities and the differences are trivial. 

In defining the goal of your religion, you need not use 
conventional religious language. You don't have to make your 
spiritual journey sound "religious." Religion cannot be pomp- 
ous and high-flown. Religion is consciousness expansion, cen- 
tered in the body and defined exactly the way it sounds best to 
you. Don't be intimidated by Caesar's Hollywood fake versions 
of religiosity. If life has a meaning for you beyond the TV- 
studio game, you are religious. Spell it out. 

So write out your own language for the trip: God or evolu- 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 230 

tion, acid or sacrament, guide or guru, purgatorial redemption 
or bad trip, mystic revelation or good high. Say it naturally. 

Develop your own rituals and costumes. Robes or gray flannel 
suits, amulets or tattoos. You will eventually find yourself 
engaged in a series of sacred moments which feel right to you. 

Step by step 

all your actions 

will take on a sacra 

mental meaning. Inevit 

ably you will create a ritual 
sequence for each sense organ 

and for each of the basic energy ex 
changes eating, bathing, mating, etc. 

You must be explicit about the space-time arrangement for 
your God game. Each room in your home will contain a shrine. 
Your house will not be a TV actor's dressing room but rather a 
spiritual center. Regular rhythms of worship will emerge daily 
meditation (turn-on) sessions (with or without marijuana) , 
and once a week or once a month you will devote a whole day to 
turning on. Time your worship to the rhythm of the seasons, to 
the planetary calendar. 

Spell out on paper explicit plan$ for handling financial 
interaction^. Money i$ a completely irrational focu$ for mo$t 
We$terner$. A$ $oon a$ your clan member} detach them$elve| 
emotionally from money, you will discover how easy it is to 
survive economically. There must be a complete and collabora- 
tive pooling of money and work energy. Any $elfi$h holding 
back of dollar} or muscular energy will weaken the clan. Each 
clan, as it drops out of the American game, must appraise its 
resources and figure out how to barter with other groups. Each 
clan will develop its own productivity. 

Sexuality is the downfall of most religious cults. Clarity and 
honesty are necessary. Karmic accidental differences exist in 
people's sexual makeup. Basically, each man is made to mate 
with one woman. Heterosexual monogamous fidelity is the only 
natural way of sexual union. However, because this is the Kali 

start Your Own Religion [ 231 

Yuga, and because we live in the final stages of a sick society, 
sexual variations are inevitable. 

Your mode of sexual union is the key to your religion. You 
cannot escape this. The way you ball (or avoid balling) is your 
central sacramental activity. The sexual proclivity of the clan 
must be explicit and inflexible. Do not attempt to establish clan 
relationships with persons of a different sexual persuasion. 
There is no value judgment here. Sex is sacred. People of like 
sexual temperament must form their own spiritual cults. 
Homosexuality is not an illness. It is a religious way of life. 
Homosexuals should accept their state as a religious path. 
Homosexuals cannot join heterosexual clans. Homosexuals 
should treasure, glorify, their own sexual yoga. Their right to 
pursue their sacred bodily yoga is guaranteed to them. Hetero- 
sexual clans can support, help, learn from, teach homosexual 
clans, but the difference must be preserved with mutual re- 

Some spiritual people are not compatible with the monoga- 
mous union and prefer a freer sexual regime, the group mar- 
riage. GoodI Many tribes and clans throughout the planet have 
flourished in complete and holy promiscuity. But be explicit. 
Painful confusions occur if sexual orientations and sexual 
taboos (cellular and physical, not psychological or cultural) are 
disregarded in forming clans. 

Select clan members who share or complement your style, 
your way of tuning in, your temperament, your sexual orien- 

The aim of clan living is to subordinate the ego game to the 
family game the clan game. 

You will do well to have an explicit connection to a mythic 
figure. You must select a historical psychedelic guide. You must 
know your mythic origins. Facts and news are reports from the 
current TV drama. They have no relevance to your 2-billion- 
year-old divinity. Myth is the report from the cellular memory 
bank. Myths humanize the recurrent themes of evolution. 

You select a myth as a reminder that you are part of an 
ancient and holy process. You select a myth to guide you when 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 232 

you drop out of the narrow confines of the fake-prop studio 

Your mythic guide must be one who has solved the death- 
rebirth riddle. A TV drama hero cannot help you. Caesar, 
Napoleon, Kennedy are no help to your cellular orientation. 
Christ, Lao-tse, Hermes Trismegistus, Socrates are recurrent 
turn-on figures. 

You will find it absolutely necessary to leave the city. Urban 
living is spiritually suicidal. The cities of America are about to 
crumble as did Rome and Babylon. Go to the land. Go to the 

Psychedelic centers located in cities will serve as collecting 
areas. Thousands of spiritual seekers are coming to urban dis- 
tricts where they meet in meditation centers and psychedelic 
assembly places.* There they form their clans. They migrate 
from the city. 

The Legal Question 

Unless you form your own new religion and devote an increas- 
ing amount of your energies to it, you are (however exciting 
your personality TV role) a robot. Your new religion can be 
formed only by you. Do not wait for a messiah. Do it yourself. 

The goals, roles, rules, rituals, values, language, space-tie 
locale, and mythic context of your religion must be put on 
paper for two reasons. One, to make the journey clear and 
explicit for yourself and your clan members, and two, to deal 
with Caesar. 

The relationship between Caesar and the God seeker has 

* Psychedelic centers are rapidly springing up in metropolitan areas, and this 
tendency must be encouraged. A simple format for a psychedelic enterprise 
may involve a shop front with a meditation room in the rear. Numerous 
shops calling themselves "psychedelic" are springing up throughout the country. 
This development is inevitable, but one should be skeptical about the spiritual 
nature of such commercial enterprises unless they include a meditation room. 
Psychedelic businesses should support spiritual communities and provide centers 
for clan formation. 

start Your Own Religion [ 233 

always been uneasy. But the boundaries of the tension can be 
defined precisely, and if you are clear in your mind, there can 
be no confusion. You can move with exactness and confidence. 

Everything that exists outside your body and your shrine 
belongs to Caesar. Caesar has constructed the fake-prop studio 
for his king-of-the-mountain game, and he can have it. High- 
ways, property, status, power, money, weapons, all things, all 
external man-made objects belong to him. The spiritual life is 
completely detached from these props. Obey Caesar's TV studio 
rules when you are in his studios. Avoid any participation in his 

But remember, your body is the kingdom of heaven, and 
your home is the shrine in which the kingdom of heaven is to be 
found. What you do inside your body, what energies you let 
contact your sense organs, and what you put into your body is 
your business.* 

All you need do to protect the divinity of your body and the 
sanctity of your shrine is to be explicit and to worship with 
dignity and courage. 

Write down an eightfold definition of your religion (goal, 
role, rule, ritual, value, language, myth, space-time locale) . By 
doing so, you have formed your religion. The First Amendment 
to the Constitution, the charter of the UN, and the ancient 
traditions of human history give you protection to alter your 
own consciousness inside your shrine. 

If you take a psychedelic sacrament, leave your house and 
commit a disorder on Caesar's streets; let him arrest you for 
overt crime. But your right to turn on in your home is sacred. 
You make your home a shrine by writing it into the charter of 
your religion. 

In writing your charter, you must specify where you will take 
the sacrament and with whom. The charter does not permit you 
to turn on anywhere. You must respect the possessive claims of 
Caesar to his fake-front stage sets. And you must also specify 
visible objects of worship which will be found in your shrine a 

* You are God: Remember! 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 234 

statue of Buddha, a picture of Christ, a rock, a wooden carving. 
You choose, but be explicit. 

Get your charter notarized, or mail it to yourself in a post- 
marked envelope. You have thereby established, before possible 
conflict with Caesar's police, your religion. These are the mini- 
mum steps required to protect your use of psychedelic drugs. If 
you don't care enough to do this, you don't care enough. 

But further steps are preferable. It is highly advisable, and 
quite simple, to incorporate your religion under the laws of 
your state. Consult a lawyer a psychedelic lawyer if possible. 
There are thousands of them around. How? Well, he'll be 
under the age of thirty. Your local ACLU would be a good 
place to start. Ask him to file incorporation papers which are 
standard and which every lawyer has in mimeographed outline. 

Follow the simple steps necessary to complete the forms, and 
in short order, you are a legally incorporated religion. Your 
own sense of dignity and commitment to the spiritual life is 
encouraged. Your posture and confidence vis-a-vis Caesar's Key- 
stone Kops is immeasurably strengthened. 

But you must play it straight. Don't sign anything you aren't 
going to live up to. On the other hand, leave room in your 
charter for easy revision of your religious practices. You are a 
young, growing religion. For God's sake, don't get caught in 
rigidities at the beginning. 

Use psychedelic sacraments only in designated shrines and only 
with members of a psychedelic religion. If you are going to be 
naughty and smoke pot in the washroom of one of Caesar's stage 
sets, why that's all right but be clear; you waive your religious 
rights. Do what you will, but be conscious and don't mix up 
your naughty game with your religious game. 

After you have incorporated your religion, you can file the 
application forms and a description of methods of worship in 
the attorney's office. In case of any misunderstanding with 
Caesar's cops, you will be effectively prepared. Don't be sur- 
prised at the idea of having a lawyer to handle your psychedelic 
affairs. Psychedelic lawyers will be the most numerous and 
popular segment of the legal profession in 15 years. For a small 
amount of money you can have ongoing legal protection for 

start Your Own Religion [ 235 

your religion. You'd do it for your business, wouldn't you? It's 
better yet if you find a lawyer who is ready to join your clan.* 

There is a third legal step which many psychedelic religion- 
ists will want to take the licensing for the importation and 
distribution of illegal sacraments such as marijuana and LSD. 
The legal procedure involved in obtaining permission to use 
drugs is called a declaratory judgment. This procedure can 
result in a court declaration that an individual or a group may, 
with the sanction of law, use drugs freely for religious purposes. 

In requesting a declaratory judgment to import and distrib- 
ute illegal sacraments (and remember here that alcohol, nico- 
tine, and automobiles are also illegal except to licensed oper- 
ators) , you are asking nothing more than was permitted to 
Catholic priests and Jewish rabbis during alcohol prohibition. 
These religionists were allowed to import and distribute an 
illegal drug booze for distribution only by priests and only in 
designated shrines. The quarter of a million members of the 
Native American Church are similarly licensed to use peyote, a 
plant much more powerful than marijuana. 

The filing for a declaratory judgment requires more commit- 
ment and energy and thus becomes the third test of your 
religious stamina. How much do you care? 

By the end of 1968 we expect that thousands of such applica- 
tions will be flooding the courts. In each case, the decision as to 
whether the applicants are entitled to a license to smoke mari- 
juana and use LSD will have to be made on the merits of the 
case. Each judge and jury will have to rule on the sincerity of 
the applicants. What a wonderful exercise! Thousands of 
groups of young Americans will choose to present and defend 
their new religions in the courts. What a beautiful forum for 
free debate on the values of marijuana as opposed to boozel 

Thousands of jury members and hundreds of judges will be 

In all of these activities there is no hostility, no competition, 
no conflict with Caesar. Love and humor are the means. The 
ends will follow. 

Your lawyer can write to the League for Spiritual Discovery for further legal 
information, relevant briefs, precedents, etc. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 236 

Dr. Leary, What Will Happen to Society After Everyone 
Turns On, Tunes In, and Drops Out? 

An interesting indication of the "miraculous" growth of LSD 
comes in the form of the question: What will happen to society 
after everyone turns on, tunes in, and drops out? 

At the surface, the question seems naive. Nowhere and never 
does everyone do the same thing at the same time. It's all 
planned in cycles by the DNA code. Organic changes occur 
gradually and invisibly. 

This question reflects the sudden panic of the TV bit player. 
What will happen to me if the show goes off the air? Will I lose 
my little part? What an incomparable tragedy if these card- 
board studio walls were to fall down I 

The emotional response to this game terror is reassurance. 
Don't worry. Your life begins when your TV game ends. Turn 
on, tune in, drop out. Then you are free to walk out of the 
studio a god in the Garden of Eden. 

The intellectual answer to the question is infinitely complex, 
depending upon how much time and energy one can mobilize 
for Utopian planning. The League for Spiritual Discovery has 
worked out detailed blueprints for the next cycle of man's social 
evolution. Future manuals will be published by the league 
describing the year-by-year unfolding. 

In summary: be prepared for a complete change of American 
urban technology. Grass will grow in Times Square within ten 
years. The great soil-murdering lethal skyscrapers will come 
down. Didn't you know they were stage sets? Didn't you know 
they had to come down? The transition will come either vio- 
lently (by war) or gently, aesthetically, through a psychedelic 
dropout process. 

In any case, there is nothing for you to do in a collective 
political sense. Turn on, tune in, drop out. Discover and nur- 
ture your own divinity and that of your friends and family 

Center on your clan and the natural order will prevail. 


American Education as an Addictive 
Process and Its Cure* 

The topic is the individual in the college, his commitments and 
his work. A broad subject indeed! Let us define the task more 
specifically. Let's aim the dialogue to each of you, who are, after 
all, individuals in the college. Let's talk directly and propheti- 
cally to your situation. 

Let's set an ambitious goal to present the most important 
message you have ever listened to, to present a challenge which 
will change some of your lives. This may sound immodest but 
it's not, really, because what we shall consider has nothing to do 
with me personally. Like the other speakers, I, too, have been 
sent over by Central Casting to read my lines in the scenario we 
are working on today. I am simply a temporary mouthpiece for 
the message you are about to hear. Another reason for setting a 
bold goal is that this is my last performance in this particular 
drama. This is my last lecture as a college teacher to a college 
audience, and after the performance I'm going to take off the 
greasepaint and change uniform and move on to another show. 

The third reason for claiming that my ambition today is not 
immodest is that I am saying nothing new. I didn't write the 

This chapter is a revision of a lecture given by Dr. Timothy Leary at the 
Second Annual Symposium on American Values, Central Washington State 
College, Ellensburg, Washington, April 1963. One week following the lecture, 
the speaker was fired from Harvard University for being absent from class, a 
paradoxical charge since his regularly scheduled courses had been assigned to 
other professors the preceding September. 


The Politics of Ecstasy [ 238 

script. The lines were written by the oldest playwright in the 
business. I am simply repeating the oldest message in human 
history. We know, of course, that the wise men don't talk. The 
Book of Tao tells us that he who knows, speaks not and he who 
speaks, knows not. When the wise men in the past did talk, they 
have always written the same book. They have always told us 
the same message, repeated in a different dialect, using the 
metaphor of their time, using the vocabulary of their tribe, but 
it is always the same message. "Turn off your mind. Step for a 
moment or two out of your own ego. Stop your robot activity 
for a while. Stop the game you are in. Look within." 

Oh, words! More good advice 1 The words that I have just 
given you are pretty trite and cliche today in the twentieth 
century, aren't they? But 3,000 years ago, when they were first 
enunciated, they were tremendously exciting. They probably 
brought about biochemical changes in the neurosystems of the 
people that heard these chants for the first time. Of course, now 
in the twentieth century, we are bombarded by words, thou- 
sands of words an hour, so that what I've just said is only 
another tattoo of syllables bouncing off your ears. Today we 
don't know what to look for if we try to get out of our game, 
and we don't know how to do it. 

Now if you look at some of the metaphors that were used by 
these men in the past who changed the course of human history, 
the great visionaries, the great religious leaders, the great 
poets, you find an interesting correlation, a similarity. They all 
found the same thing when they looked within. They talked 
about the inner light, about the soul, the divine flame, the 
spark, or the seed of life, or the white light of the void. You will 
recognize that I have just ranged in these metaphors through 
several great philosophers, both Eastern and Western. All of 
these metaphors rang true and were right at the time. We can 
recognize now that they were clumsy metaphors for what are 
actually physiological processes within our nervous system. 
Listen I Each of those poetic images within the next 2 to 5 years 
is going to be validated by modern biochemistry and modern 

American Education as an Addictive Process and Its Cure [ 239 

Let me define the problem as I see it. I want to define it first 
of all ontologically, in the scientific sense, and then later I'll 
talk about the social aspects of the problem which we now face. 

Ontologically there are an infinite number of realities, each 
one defined by the particular space-time dimension which you 
use. From the standpoint of one reality, we may think that the 
other realities are hallucinatory, or psychotic, or far out, or 
mysterious, but that is just because we're caught at the level of 
one space-time perception. 

For many people it's an infuriating thought that there are 
many, many realities. Last week, I was giving a lecture on 
consciousness expansion with Professor Alpert at the Aero-Space 
Institute in Los Angeles. A young engineer happened to be in 
the building that night, busy with some aerospace activity, and 
as he was leaving the building, he saw this crowd in a large 
room, and he came in to listen. After the lecture was over and 
we were on the way out, he stopped us and started to argue 
about reality. He could hardly talk, he was so mad. He said, 
"There is only one reality, the reality that is here, the reality of 
our physical laws, and for you to say that there is a range of 
realities, and particularly to say that this range might be 
brought about by drugs, is intellectual fraud, deceiving your 
fellow man!" It seemed to disturb him and make him angry to 
think that this solidity (which we are convinced exists around 
us) is perhaps just one level of an enormously complex con- 
tinuum of realities. Now it's bad enough to say that there are 
other realities, but it's really intolerable if we suggest that some 
of the other realities are more conducive to ecstasy, happiness, 
wisdom, to more effective activity, than our familiar reality. So 
much for the general ontological situation. Let us try to spell 
this out in more exact terms. 

The social reality in which we have been brought up and 
which we have been taught to perceive and deal with is a fairly 
gross and static affair. But it misses the real excitement. The 
real hum and drama, the beauty of the electronic, cellular, 
somatic, sensory energy process have no part in our usual picture 
of reality. We can't see the life process. We are surrounded by it 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 240 

all the time. It is exploding inside of us in a billion cells in our 
body, but most of the time we can't experience it. We are blind 
to it. For example, how do we know when another person is 
alive? We have to poke his robot body and listen to his heart, 
look for some movement. If he breathes, he is alive. But that is 
not the life process. That is just the external symptom. It's like 
seeing that the car moves, and from the fact that the body of the 
car moves, inferring that the motor is going inside. We can hear 
the car motor, we can brake, but we can't tune in on the 
machinery of life inside ourselves or around us. Now at this 
point you must be thinking, well, poor Leary, he has gone too 
far out. But really I don't think that it should be this difficult to 
accept logically the fact that there are many realities and that 
the most exciting things that happen, cellular and nuclear 
processes, the manufacture of protein from DNA blueprints, are 
not at the level of our routine perception. And for that matter, 
that the most complex communications, the most creative proc- 
esses, exist at levels of which we are not ordinarily aware. 

Let's take an analogy. Suppose that you had never heard of 
the microscope, and I came before you and said, "Ladies and 
gentlemen, I have an instrument which brings into view an 
entirely different picture of reality, according to which this 
world around us which seems to have solidity and symmetry and 
certain form is actually made up of organisms, each of which is a 
universe; there is a world inside a drop of water. A drop of 
blood is like a galaxy. A leaf is a fantastic organization perhaps 
more complicated than our own social structure." You would 
think that I was pretty far out, until that moment when I could 
persuade you to put your eye down to the microscope, show you 
how to focus, and then you would share the wonder which I had 
tried to communicate to you. All right, we know that cellular 
activity is infinitely complex. 

We tend to think of our external, leatherlike skin body as the 
basic ontological frame of reference. The center of our universe. 
This foolish egocentricity becomes apparent when we compare 
our body with a tractor. We usually think of a tractor or a 
harvesting machine as a clumsy, crude instrument which just 

American Education as an Addictive Process and its Cure [ 241 

organizes and brings food for us to feed our mouths. But from 
the standpoint of the cell, the animal's body, the human being's 
body, your body, is a clumsy instrument, the function of which 
is to transport the necessary supplies to keep the cellular life 
process going. And we realize, when we study biology textbooks, 
that our body is actually a complex set of soft-divine machines 
serving in myriad ways the needs of the cell. These concepts can 
be a little disturbing to our egocentric and our anthropocentric 
point of view. 

But then we've just started, because the fellow with the 
electron microscope comes along. And he says, "Well, your 
microscope and your cell is nothing! Sure, the cell is compli- 
cated, but there's a whole universe inside the atom in which 
activities move with the speed of light, and talk about excite- 
ment, talk about fun, talk about communication, well, now 
here at the electron level we're just getting into it." And then 
the astronomer comes along with his instruments, and off we go 

The interesting thing to me about this new vision of many 
realities that science confronts us with (however unwilling we 
are to look at it) is this: the closer and closer connection 
between the cosmology of modern science and the cosmology of 
some of the Eastern religions, in particular, Hinduism and 
Buddhism. I have a strong suspicion that within the next few 
years, we are going to see many of the hypotheses of our Chris- 
tian mystics and many of the cosmological and ontological 
theories of Eastern philosophers spelled out objectively in bio- 
chemical terms. Now, all of these phenomena "out there" made 
visible by the electron microscope, the telescope, are wounding 
enough to our pride and our anthropomorphism (which 
Robert Ardry calls the "romantic fallacy") , but here, perhaps 
the most disturbing of all, comes modern pharmacology. Now 
we have evidence which suggests that by ingesting a tiny bit of 
substance which will change biochemical balances inside our 
nervous system, it's possible to experience directly some of the 
things which we externally view through the lenses of the 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 242 

I will have more to say about the applications and implica- 
tions of educational chemistry shortly. I'd like to stop and 
consider briefly the social-political and educational problems 
which are the subject of our symposium. We have told each 
other over and over again during the last two days of the 
conference that we're in pretty bad shape. Well, I'm not quite 
that pessimistic. What's in bad shape? The cellular process isn't 
in bad shape. The supreme intelligence, if you want to use that 
corny twentieth-century phrase for the DNA molecule, isn't in 
bad shape. For that matter, the human species is going to 
survive, probably in some mutated form. What's in bad shape? 
Our social games. Our secular traditions, our favorite concepts, 
our cultural systems. These transitory phenomena are collaps- 
ing and will have to give way to more advanced evolutionary 

I'm very optimistic about the cellular process and the human 
species because they are part, we are part of the fantastic 
rushing flow which has been pounding along from one incred- 
ible climax to another for some 2 billion years. And you can't 
stay back there, hanging on to a rock in the stream. You've got 
to go along with the flow; you've got to trust the process, and 
you've got to adapt to it, and you might as well try to under- 
stand it and enjoy it. I have some suggestions in a moment as to 
how to do exactly that. 

We are all caught in a social situation which is getting in- 
creasingly set and inflexible and frozen. A social process which is 
hanging on to a rock back there somewhere and keeping us 
from flowing along with the process. All the classic symptoms 
are there: professionalism, bureaucracy, reliance and overreli- 
ance on the old cliches, too much attention to the external and 
material, the uniformity and conformity caused by mass com- 
munication. The old drama is repeating itself. It happened in 
Rome and it happened to the Persian Empire and the Turkish 
Empire and it happened in Athens. The same symptoms. We're 
caught in what seems like an air-conditioned anthill, and we see 
that we're drifting helplessly toward war, overpopulation, plas- 
tic stereotyping. We're diverted by our circuses the space race 

American Education as an Addictive Process and Its Cure [ 243 

and television but we're getting scared, and what's worse, we're 
getting bored and we're ready for a new page in the story. The 
next evolutionary step. 

And what is the next step? Where is the new direction to be 
found? The wise men have been telling us for 3,000 years: it's 
going to come from within, from within your head. 

The human being, we know, is a very recent addition to the 
animal kingdom. Sometime around 70,000 years ago (a mere 
fraction of a second in terms of the evolutionary time scale) , the 
erect primate with the large cranium seems to have appeared. 
In a sudden mutational leap the size of the skull and the brain 
is swiftly doubled. A strange cerebral explosion. According to 
one paleo-neurological theory (Dr. Tilly Edinger) , "Enlarge- 
ment of the cerebral hemisphere by 50 percent seems to have 
taken place without having been accompanied by any major 
increase in body size." 

Thus we come to the fascinating possibility that man, in the 
short infancy of his existence, has never learned to use this new 
neurological machinery. That perhaps, like a child turned loose 
in the control room of a billion-tube computer, man is just 
beginning to catch on to the idea, just beginning to discover 
that there is an infinity of meaning and complex power in the 
equipment he carries around behind his own eyebrows. 

The first intimation of this incredible situation was given by 
Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discoverer with Charles Darwin of 
what we call the theory of evolution. Wallace was the first to 
point out that the so-called savage the Eskimo, the African 
tribesman far from being an offshoot of a primitive and never- 
developed species, had the same neural equipment as the liter- 
ate European. He just wasn't using it the same way. He hadn't 
developed it linguistically and in other symbolic game se- 
quences. "We may safely infer," said Wallace, "that the savage 
possesses a brain capable, if cultivated and developed, of per- 
forming work of a kind and degree far beyond what he is ever 
required to do." We shall omit discussion of the ethnocentric 
assumptions (Protestant ethic, primitive-civilized) which are 
betrayed in this quote and follow the logic to its next step. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 244 

Here we face the embarrassing probability that the same is 
true of us. In spite of our mechanical sophistication we may 
well be savages, simple brutes quite unaware of the potential 
within. It is highly likely that coming generations will look 
back at us and wonder: how could they so childishly play with 
their simple toys and primitive words and remain ignorant of 
the speed, power, and relational potential within? How could 
they fail to use the equipment they possessed? 

According to Loren Eiseley (whose argument I have been 
following in the last few paragraphs) , "When these released 
potentialities for brain growth began, they carried man into a 
new world where the old laws no longer held. With every 
advance in language, in symbolic thought, the brain paths 
multiplied. Significantly enough, these which are most recently 
acquired and less specialized regions of the brain, the 'silent 
areas,' mature last. Some neurologists, not without reason, 
suspect that here may lie other potentialities which only the 
future of the race may reveal." 

We are using, then, a very small percentage of the neural 
equipment, the brain capacity which we have available. We 
perceive and act at one level of reality when there are any 
number of places, any number of directions in which we can 

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to wake up! It's time to 
really use our heads. But how? Let's consider our topic: the 
individual in college. Can the college help us use our heads? To 
think about the function of the college, we have to think about 
the university as a place which spawns new ideas or breaks 
through to new visions. A place where we can learn how to use 
our neurological equipment. 

The university, and for that matter, every aspect of the 
educational system, is paid for by adult society to train young 
people to keep the same game going. To be sure that you do not 
use your heads. Students, this institution and all educational 
institutions are set up to anesthetize you, to put you to sleep. 
To make sure that you will leave here and walk out into the 
bigger game and take your place in the line. A robot like your 

American Education as an Addictive Process and Its Cure [ 245 

parents, an obedient, efficient, well-adapted social game player. 
A replaceable part in the machine. 

Now you are allowed to be a tiny bit rebellious. You can have 
fancy ways of dress, you can become a cute teen-ager, you can 
have panty raids, and that sort of thing. There is a little leeway 
to let you think that you are doing things differently. But don't 
let that kid you. 

I looked at television last night for a few minutes and 
watched a round table of high school students discussing prob- 
lems. Very serious social problems. They were discussing teen- 
age drinking. Now the problem seems to be that young people 
want to do the grown-up things a little too fast. You want to 
start using the grown-ups' narcotics before you're old enough. 
Well, don't be in such a hurry! You'll be doing the adult 
drinking pretty soon. You'll be performing all the other 
standardized adult robot sequences because that is what they're 
training you to do. The last thing that an institution of educa- 
tion wants to allow you to do is to expand your consciousness, to 
use the untapped potential in your head, to experience directly. 
They don't want you to evolve, to grow, to really grow. They 
don't want you to move on to a different level of reality. They 
don't want you to take life seriously, they want you to take their 
game seriously. Education, dear students, is anesthetic, a nar- 
cotic procedure which is very likely to blunt your sensitivity 
and to immobolize your brain and your behavior for the rest of 
your lives. 

I also would like to suggest that our educational process is an 
especially dangerous narcotic because it probably does direct 
physiological damage to your nervous system. Let me explain 
what I mean by that. Your brain, like any organ of your body, is 
a perfect instrument. When you were born, you brought into 
the world this organ which is almost perfectly adapted to sense 
what is going on around you and inside of you. Just as the heart 
knows its job, your brain is ready to do its job. But what educa- 
tion does to your head would be like taking your heart and 
wrapping rubber bands around it and putting springs on it to 
make sure it can pump. What education does is to put a series of 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 246 

filters over your awareness so that year by year, step by step, you 
experience less and less and less. A baby, we're convinced, sees 
much more than we do. A kid o ten or twelve is still playing 
and moving around with some flexibility. But an adult has 
filtered experience down to just the plastic reactions. This is a 
biochemical phenomenon. There's considerable evidence show- 
ing that a habit is a neural network of feedback loops. Like 
grooves in a record, like muscles, the more you use any one of 
the loops, the more likely you are to use it again. If there were 
time, I could spell out exactly how this conditioning process, 
this educational process, works, how it is based on early, acci- 
dental, imprinted emotions. 

So here we are once again. The monolithic, frozen empire is 
about to fall. We have been in this position many times in the 
last few thousand years. What can we do about educational 
narcosis? How can you "kick" the conformist habit? How can 
you learn to use your head? 

We're all caught in this social addictive process. You young 
people know that it's not working out the way it could. You 
know you're hooked. You dread the robot sequence. But there 
is always the promise, isn't there? There's always the come-on. 
"Keep coming. It's going to get better. Something great is going 
to happen tomorrow if you're good today." It's not! As a matter 
of fact, it gets worse, dear robots. 

All right, where do we go? What can we do? I have two 
answers to those questions. The first is: drop out! Go out 
where you are closer to reality, to direct experience. Go out to 
where things are really happening. Go out to the frontier. Go 
out to those focal points where important issues are being 
played out. Why don't you pick out the most important prob- 
lem in the world, as you see it, and go exactly to the center of 
the place where it's happening, where it is being studied and 
worked on? Why not? Someone has to be there, in the center. 
Why not you? 

Now, there's a risk to this. The first risk is that you'll lose 
your foothold on the ladder that you've been climbing. You'll 
lose your social connection. 

American Education as an Addictive Process and Its Cure [ 247 

Undergraduates come to me very often and say, "I want to go 
on to graduate school in psychology. Where should I go?" And I 
always ask them the question, "Why do you want to study 
psychology?" And as I listen to them, usually one of two answers 
develops. Answer number one is: *'I want to become a psy- 
chologist. I want to play the psychology game. I want to be able 
to play the role and use the terms you use, and I want to be an 
assistant professor and then an associate professor and then a 
full professor, and I want to get tenure, and maybe if I'm really 
ambitious, I might get to be president of the American Psycho- 
logical Association." Well, that's fair enough, and for someone 
who has that ambition I can give them advice about the stra- 
tegic universities to go to, like go to Michigan or Yale but don't 
go to XYZ. 

Some students, though, will say, "I want to study psychology 
because I want to study human nature" or "I want to find out 
what's what." To do some good. And then I can tell them, well, 
forget about graduate school. What kind of good do you want to 
do? Do you want to help the mentally ill? Then get yourself 
committed to a mental hospital. Stay there for a year or two; 
you'll learn more about mental illness in that two years than 
our profession has learned in a hundred years. If you want to 
learn about delinquency and reducing crime, go down to the 
tough section, learn the crime game, learn how to make a man- 
to-man contact with tough guys, learn from them why they are 
crooks and criminals. Spend a year in prison, not as a psycholo- 
gist, but maybe as a guard, or cleaning up the garbage, and 
you'll learn more than you will ever learn in a criminology 
textbook. That is how it goes. There is no problem that can't be 
best solved and best worked out at this stage of ignorance by 
getting right into the reality. 

Of course, another objection to this suggestion is: "After all, 
we do need some information and we do need facts and we have 
to learn them in university courses." And I say, "Sure, there are 
existential problems; there are certain times when in trying to 
solve an existential problem you will want to borrow the 
experience and the data of previous investigators." You can use 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 248 

the library, but again, beware, it's just like a narcotic. Library 
books are very dangerous addictive substances. Like heroin, 
books become an end in themselves. I made the suggestion two 
years ago at Harvard University that they lock up Widener 
Library, put chains on the doors, and have little holes in the 
wall like in bank tellers' windows, and if a student wanted to 
get a book, he would have to come with a little slip made out 
showing that he had some existential, practical question. He 
wouldn't say that he wanted to stuff a lot of facts in his mind so 
that he could impress a teacher or be one up on the other 
students in the intellectual game. No. But if he had an existen- 
tial problem, then the library would help him get all the 
information that could be brought to bear on that problem. 
Needless to say, this plan didn't make much of a hit, and the 
doors of the Harvard Library are still open. You can still get 
dangerous narcotic volumes without a prescription at Harvard. 

Where can we go? 

Answer number one is to get out into the world, go to where 
the really important events, the events that you think are 
important, are happening and climb into them. That, by the 
way, is how all the great advances in science as well as politics 
have taken place. 

Answer number two to the question, where can we go, is: Go 
inside. Go into your own brain; start using the untapped region 
of your head. Here, my friends, is the real frontier, the real 
challenge, the real opportunity. 

Well, how do we do that? For centuries, for thousands of 
years, men have been studying this problem of how to expand 
their own consciousness, how to get into their own brains. One 
of the classic methods of doing it is the simple process of 
meditation. But today in 1963 this method seems far out. You'd 
be called eccentric if you said to an American that it would be 
useful for him to spend one hour a day alone not thinking but 
just turning off all of the outside stimulation and the internal 
mental machinery and seeing where that will take him. We 
have to remind ourselves that meditation has been the classic 
psychological technique for thousands of years for most of the 

American Education as an Addictive Process and its Cure [ 249 

human race. Every one of our great visionaries, every one of the 
men who changed the course of human history, worked it out 
during a meditative experience. 

Modem psychology calls this "turning on" by the fancy name 
"sensory deprivation." A few years ago psychologists discovered 
that if you took an American and you put him in a dark room 
and you cut off all the sound and you cut off all the light and 
you cut off all tactile stimulation, in other words, if you turned 
off all the outside games, he couldn't keep his mind going and 
strange things would take place in his consciousness and he 
would begin to have hallucinations, revelations, visions, or he'd 
get in a panic and leap out of the room and shout "Help!" The 
reason for this is (and now we are getting back into neuro- 
psychology) that your mind, your game-playing verbal mind, 
like a drug habit, requires continual stimulation. You have to 
keep feeding it. In order to keep up the pretense that you are 
you and that your level of reality is really reality, you have to 
have feedback all the time. You have to have people around you 
reminding you that you are you; you have to have people 
around you participating in the same immediate realities, shar- 
ing the same social delusion, to keep this social reality going. 

Now whenever you get out there, away from the social and 
sensory stimulation (as with men who are shipwrecked, men 
who are lost in a desert, men who are lost in the snow, men who 
go into monasteries, men who go into cells) , there are with- 
drawal symptoms. The people panic because they are moving 
on to a different level of reality. How many of our great 
visionaries, our great history-making decisions, have come from 
men who have gone off in the desert? Jesus Christ went off in a 
cave in the mountain; Mohammed sat alone in a cave; Buddha 
lived in solitude for many years, so did St. John of the Cross. So 
have most of our other great visionaries. The problem now is 
that it is getting harder to let these physiological events happen. 
To be alone in order to look within. 

Recently our technology, which has done so much to narrow 
our consciousness and to produce this robotlike conformity, has 
turned up two very disturbing processes which are going to 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 250 

cause all of us to do a lot of serious thinking in the next few 
years. These processes are electrical stimulation of the brain, 
and the new drugs, which also allow for increased control of 
consciousness, either by you or by someone else. The next 
evolutionary step is going to come through these two means, 
both of which involve greater knowledge, greater control, 
greater use and application of that major portion of our brain 
which we now do not use and of which we are only dimly 

These potentialities and these promises aren't going to go 
away. Your head, with its unused neurons, is there. Electrical 
stimulation and biochemical expansion of the neural processes 
are here, too. They aren't going to go away just because they 
upset our theories of psychology or our new words of education. 

In 1943, a most dramatic event took place in a laboratory in 
Switzerland when Dr. Albert Hoffman accidentally ingested a 
tiny amount of semisynthetic ergot fungus known as LSD 25 
and found himself thrown onto a level of reality which he had 
never experienced before. This had probably happened to 
many chemists in the past and to many other people in the past. 
Hoffman was the man on the spot who was able to understand 
what was going on. And because of Albert Hoffman of Sandoz 
Laboratory, we face today the challenge and dilemma of con- 
sciousness-expanding drugs. They are not addictive in the sense 
that there is no physiological attachment to them. I must point 
out that the very question of addiction is humorous to those of 
us that feel that we are all hopelessly addicted to words and to 
our tribal games. These drugs are physiologically safe. Over two 
thousand studies have been published, and as of 1968 despite 
the rumors there is no evidence of somatic or physical side 
effects. But they are dangerous; the sociopolitical dangers are 
there. We have incontrovertible evidence that these drugs cause 
panic, poor judgment, and irrational behavior on the part of 
some college deans, psychiatrists and government administrators 
who have not taken them. 

What we think is going to hapf>en is that a system of licensing 
and training will be developed, very similar to the way we train 

American Education as an Addictive Process and Its Cure [ 251 

and license people to use motorcars and airplanes. People have 
to demonstrate that they can use their expanded neural ma- 
chinery without hurting themselves and without danger to their 
fellow men. They will have to demonstrate proficiency, experi- 
ence, training, and then we feel it is their right to be licensed. 
As in the case of airplane and auto, the license can be taken 
away from those who injure themselves or injure their fellow 

There are many new by-products of this research in con- 
sciousness expansion and these studies. First of all, it is inevi- 
table that a new language will develop to communicate the new 
aspect of experience. The language of words we now use is 
extremely clumsy, static, and heavy. We are going to have to 
develop, as chemistry has developed, a language that will pay 
respect to the fact that our experience, our behavior, our social 
forms are flowing all the time. And if your language isn't 
equipped to change and flow with them, then you are in 
trouble, you're hooked. You're drugged by the educational 
system. There are going to be new values, rest assured, based on 
a broader range of reality. Our present values, based on certain 
ethnocentric tribal goals, are going to recede in importance 
after we see where man really belongs in the biological evolu- 
tionary process. There are going to be new social forms; there 
are going to be new methods of education. 

I'll give you one example here. In the last few months, we 
have been studying accelerated learning by the use of the 
expanded consciousness. It's your trained mind, you remember, 
which prevents you from learning. If a professor of linguistics 
who doesn't know any French goes to France with his five-year- 
old son and they both spend equal time with the French people, 
who is going to learn French faster? The five-year-old son will 
quickly outstrip his dad even with that Ph.D. in linguistics. 
Why? Because Dad has stuffed his mind with all sorts of censor- 
ing and filtering concepts that prevent him from grooving with 
the French process. The psychedelic experience can release 
these learning blocks. We took, for example, a brilliant woman 
who had an emotional block against learning language. She 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 252 

wanted to learn Spanish. We gave her a very heavy dose of LSD, 
put her in a quiet room and put earphones on her, and for eight 
hours she was flooded with spoken Spanish from records. 
Every hour or so, we would go in and take the earphones off and 
say, "How are you?" She answered ecstatically in Spanish! She 
had been wallowing in Spanish for a thousand years. By the 
sixth or seventh hour, she was repeating back the Spanish words 
with the right enunciation, the dialectic tempo and so forth. 
The problem now is that when she hears Spanish spoken, she is 
likely to go into another level of consciousness, to get suddenly 
very high, which leads to other interesting possibilities of auto- 
conditioning. All of us, adults and students, have been censored 
so much, the filters have been applied for so long, the neuro- 
physiological processes are so firmly set that if we want to 
expand our consciousness, we are probably going to have to use 
chemical means. We adults, if we are going to move on to 
different levels of reality, are going to have to rely on some 
direct means of this sort. We have high hopes for the next 
generation, and particularly the next generation after that. It is 
the goal of our research and of our educational experiments 
that in one or two generations, we will be witnessing the ap- 
pearance of human beings who have much more access, without 
drugs, to a much greater percentage of their nervous systems. 

So there you have it. I'm sure that a few or none of you will 
follow the advice and the prophetic warnings that I have been 
giving. I have had to tell you with words. But I'm also going to 
take my own advice. I'm dropping out of the university and 
educational setup. I'm breaking the habit. I hope in the coming 
years as you drift into somnambulance that some of you will 
remember our meeting this morning and will break your addic- 
tion to the system. I'll be waiting for you. 

I want to leave one final warning. There will be many people 
who will see the utility of the electrical and chemical techniques 
I have been talking about and will want to use them, as the 
Western, scientific mind has always wanted to use them, for 
their own power and their own control. Whenever new fron- 
tiers open up, you have the new problem of exploitation and 

American Education as an Addictive Process and Its Cure [ 255 

selfish use. There will be no lack of people who will be de- 
lighted to use the underdeveloped areas of your cortex. We have 
coined the term "internal freedom." It is a political, didactic 
device; we want to warn you not to give up the freedom which 
you may not even know you have. In the Seattle paper yester- 
day, in one of the columns, I read a very interesting item to the 
effect that the Russians were developing extrasensory-percep- 
tion techniques and studying ways which can eventually control 
consciousness. We can do that, of course, with television now. If 
60 million people all watch one program, they are being con- 
trolled. But still we have that choice of turning it on or off. The 
next step, and I warn you it is not far off, involves some fellow 
using electrical implants and drugs to control consciousness. 
Then, dear friends, it may be too late. We won't know where 
the buttons are to turn them off. The open access to these 
methods is the key to internal freedom. If we know what we are 
doing, do it openly and collaboratively, free from government 
control, then we will be free to explore the tremendous worlds 
which lie within. 




Soul Session 

Sol: As a former professor at Harvard University, and at the 
time before the experiments with hallucinogens came up, a 
recognized figure in the field of psychology, you seem to have 
had a radical about-face when you started talking recently about 
"drop out, turn on, and tune in." Would you explain to us 
what you mean by this? 

Leary: Well, to begin with, I don't think I've made any 
radical about-face. My use of the psychedelic chemicals stems 
directly from my endeavors in psychology. I have found better 
ways of understanding man's consciousness leading to a better 
control of his inner environment. The techniques of modern 
psychiatry and psychology don't do this. In my search for new 
methods, I was led to the study of the drug. 

Sol: From being a member ostensibly of the academic in- 
group, you seemed to have evolved an "in" beyond that. 

Leary: If you study the careers of men that are the central 
figures in our culture, and I'm not saying I am one, but I model 
myself after them, you will find that as they pursue their data 
they get further and further removed from Main Street moral- 
ity and from the dogmas of the academy. Anyone who takes his 
work seriously has to expect that he will be led into that 
frightening and insecure area on the fringe. If he doesn't want 
to be led out of his mind, he must look at himself in the mirror 

This interview was conducted by Ken Garrison, editor of SOL magazine. 
Valley State College, California. 

[ 254 

Soul Session [ 255 

and realize that he is not a true scientist he's playing the game 
of the academy and academic corrosion. Far from being uncon- 
ventional, I see my unfolding as highly orthodox and predict- 
able for anyone who takes truth and knowledge seriously. 

Sol: It was my understanding you were dismissed from Har- 
vard for continuing psychedelic experiments on or with stu- 
dents there at the college. Would you explain the circumstances 
under which you left? 

Leary: One cannot ever believe what you hear in the news- 
papers. I was not fired by Harvard for giving drugs to under- 
graduates. I never gave drugs to any undergraduate at Harvard. 
I had been offered tenure from Harvard twice under the condi- 
tion that I stop doing research or tone down the research of 
LSD. I refused to do this. I didn't want to be a professor at 
Harvard, I wanted to find out where it's at and what's what, and 
you usually can't always do that at a university. 

Sol: Were you simply not granted tenure, and therefore you 
had to leave the college? We have a very similar circumstance at 
Valley State. An instructor has been there past the time that you 
either have to be granted tenure or you have to leave. Is that? 

Leary: No, the technicality on which I was fired with only 
two months to go on my salary, on my contract, was because I 
was absent from classes. 

Sol: If you had the opportunity to 

Leary: I was absent from all my classes because they had 
taken all my classes away from me. [Laughter] So I left, and 
they knew I was leaving. 

Sol: If you had the opportunity to practice the psychedelic 
research which you are engaged in now, would you accept a 
position at an American college or university? 

Leary: Absolutely not. I consider American education to be 
a highly dangerous, addictive, contracting process. I'm quite 
serious about this, and I urge all students at every level of 
education to drop out. You're going to learn very little of value 
and meaning in high school and college, and your mind is going 
to be trapped and hooked. We are urging young people to drop 
out of the very new and radical institution of American educa- 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 256 

tion and find a teacher, a tutor, and you learn what is appropri- 
ate and relevant. 

Sol: In other words, i I interpret you correctly, you are 
proposing for the millions of students and young people a 
system of individual, small-clan tutor-learner situations, and 
that you propose, as far as learning processes go, that this is the 
form, or rather this is the lack of form it should have? 

Leary: Yes, but let's not take any statement I make out of 
context. Obviously, when I say the kid shouldn't go to school, 
I'm implying changes in the broader social fabric of our country 
which we foresee coming. What we have in the United States 
today is a typical centralization and urbanization which hap- 
pened in Rome, which happened in Constantinople, which has 
happened throughout human history, in which enormous 
masses of people crowd together in the anonymous robotlike 
anthill of city life. Now, if you want to be an IBM computer 
robot or a bit actor in the American television studio of Ameri- 
can society, go to school and they'll teach you all the little rules 
of rote behavior that'll get you right out in the TV studio. If 
you want to be a machine, go to college. But we are anticipating 
and predicting a change in our society. There is going to be a 
return to the basic human unit which is the clan or the cult, or 
the tribe. What I'm predicting and urging is the most orthodox 
American model. We try to become self-sufficient rather than 
depend on government paychecks and Social Security. 

Sol: You talk about the nonlearning situation in our schools. 
How do you apply this to the advanced sciences such as medi- 
cine, neurological surgery some of these things which are tre- 
mendously intricate and tremendously advanced, at least from 
the point of view of the typical medical scientist? 

Leary: Which requires training 

Sol: Right, which requires, in fact, maybe a systemized, 
formalized training institution. 

Leary: No, no. I don't go along with that at all. It is true 
that more and more of the professions require long, disciplined 
periods of training. I'm not advocating the return to some 
romantic life of savagery. We can't do away with modern 

Soul Session [ 257 

science. It's here to stay, and it's going to continue to develop. 
I'm simply against the mass impersonal granting of thousands of 
Ph.D.'s in physics to men who never really experienced energy 
inside their own body, but simply memorize canned equations. 
Such anthill mentalities, no matter how clever they are at 
engineering, are going to develop bombs or faster and faster 
robot vehicles and are going to take man further and further 
away from his ultimate being, his living, organic nature. 
Knowledge doesn't depend upon these huge public-supported 
mind machines that we now call universities. In particular, the 
State of California is much more susceptible to this type of 
impersonal "learning" factory. 

Sol: Now we've covered the drop-out phase of your slogan 

Leary: I'd like to say more about the drop-out. People think 
when we say drop-out, we mean become just a lazy, idle person; 
just take LSD and contemplate the beauty of your navel. The 
facts are that dropping out is hard work; dropping out requires 
courage; dropping out releases your energy so that you turn on 
and release energies. What are you going to do with these 
energies? Are you going to go back to Valley State College and 
learn how to be a Ph.D. robot? You drop out of the fake- 
television American game to find a way of harnessing the 
energies you are releasing. The people here at Millbrook are 
full of energy, as you have noticed as you move around the 
house. They're extremely healthy and they're very hard- 
working. It takes a considerable amount of energy to convert a 
sort of jungle like this place to a place of harmony and beauty. 
You drop out to free your energies for high-level functioning. 
By drop out, we don't mean fall out; if you want to fall out, be a 
nice conforming robot and stay in college, and you just drift 
along the addictive path of middle-class success that's the easy 

Sol: Would you care to comment upon the "turn on*' phase 
of your slogan? 

Leary: Well, it's been known for thousands of years that man 
can change consciousness and the levels of energy and wisdom 
inside, or what is sometimes called revelation that is, direct 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 258 

personal experience. In every culture there have been men who 
have studied consciousness. They have been called shamans or 
gurus or alchemists. These men have studied the science of 
expanding consciousness. Most people don't realize that con- 
sciousness expansion is as equally complex a problem as the 
study of physics, because the nervous system and the levels of 
consciousness available to man are infinite in their complexities. 
And the techniques and methods of turning on and controlling 
the flow and energies of awareness and of mapping where you 
have gone and of helping others to make these explorations is 
very similar to the use of the microscope, because the micro- 
scope turns you on to levels of energy which are invisible to the 
naked eye. Turning on requires a change in the physiology of 
the human body. You can't turn yourself on with your mind; 
you can't turn yourself on with work. You have to have some- 
thing to bring about the biochemical change; it's called a 
sacrament. Today we turn on with chemicals because we live in 
a chemical society. In 10 or 15 years, chemicals such as LSD will 
be outmoded. We will be using electronic and electrical meth- 
ods of expanding consciousness because like it or not, conscious- 
ness is a biochemical electrical network, and the way to trigger 
this off and use it to its fullest extent is through chemical 
electrical technique. 

Sol: Would you care to . . . You mentioned that through 
thousands of years, man has sought ways to turn on. What 
various ways have there been other than the current LSD 
method? I think we're all familiar with peyote. 

Leary: Well, we mustn't just think of LSD. There are 80- 
some known substances in the United States today that can give 
you the psychedelic effect. There are new chemicals that are 
being developed in our alchemy laboratories each month. I 
heard recently of 32 new compounds which are ready to be 
released when it is appropriate to do so. All these are legal, and 
they don't even exist in any of the statutes; they don't even exist 
in the patent office. But in addition to the chemical means of 
turning on, there are many nondrug methods which all eventu- 
ally involve the way the dervishes do in the Middle East. 

Soul Session [ 259 

Sol: Do you feel that in this same interpretation or same 
meaning, the dances that teen-agers do today and for the past 
several thousand years are a form of turning on and are not 
viewed in this perspective? 

Leary: Well, the dance was originally a psychedelic way of 
expressing one's self, a way of getting high. Unfortunately, most 
of these early sacramental methods get worn out and routinized 
so that the Catholic goes to mass today, follows through a series 
of routine steps, failing to realize that the Catholic mass is an 
incredibly powerful psychedelic trip, involving transubstantia- 
tion of energy, involving a death-birth sequence, and using all 
sorts of sensory techniques: incense, genuflection, posture, and 
so forth. 

Sol: Do you feel that there is a potential religion in the 

Leary: I think most of the dances that Americans do today 
don't get them high. They tend to be stylized fads: the monkey, 
the slop, the twist, the watusi, and so forth. We are trying to get 
young people to develop dances which are spiritual. We have 
Bali Ram, the great Indian dancer, living here. He's teaching us 
how body movements can get you grooving with your internal 
energies instead of doing the mash potato and the whip. The 
movements can be in tune with your ancient cellular-mythic 
patterns, and the dance itself can be a wild ecstatic turn-on 
spiritual event. 

Sol: "Tune in" is the last part of the slogan which you have, 
and by this do you mean more than just the turning on ... do 
you intend direction? 

Leary: Yes, "tune in" means you take the energies you 
release when you turn on and you come back to the world and 
you tune these energies in, you harness them, you express your 
reactions, reverie, and revelations in works of beauty. The 
tuning-in process is dropping back in and changing your life, 
changing the way you dress, changing the way you look, chang- 
ing the place where you live, changing the sequence of your 
activities. So that increasingly, every act becomes sanctified. All 
actions are part of a sacred sequence eating, making a living 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 260 

instead of being robot work all these activities should be tuned 
in. . . .Hello. 

Little Girl: Hello. Are you taping? 

Leary: Yes, I'm making a tape. 

Little Girl: Oh. Is anything going to come on? 

Leary: No, we're not listening; we're talking, we're making 
the tape. Then we'll listen to it later, and we'll laugh at our- 
selves. How wise and pompous and smug we are. 

Little Girl: I wanna say something in that. 

Leary: All right, why don't you say something? 

Little Girl: Hello, Timothy! 

Leary: Hello, Kathy. 

Little Girl: I love you, Timothy! I 

Leary: I love you, Kathy. 

Sol: The tune-in phase of the slogan of the key or guide, I 
think, is something that is probably misunderstood by most 
people. It's the idea that the person who goes on a psychedelic 
kick is dropping into an unstructured, unmoving, valueless 
state of affairs from which there will be no continuation of 
human progress or human development. Would you explain 
how you would counter these charges? 

Leary: Yes, because the average American thinks that taking 
a drug makes you drunk. The average American thinks of 
getting high as going to a cocktail party because booze is our 
national sacrament. Now alcohol is a "down" experience. It 
narrows consciousness and makes you rather sloppy, a rather 
messy person in thought and action. The psychedelic drugs will 
take you in the opposite direction. They bring you into levels of 
reality which aren't structured because your mind can't struc- 
ture them. But the panoramas and the levels that you get into 
with LSD are exactly those areas which men have called the 
confrontation of God. The LSD trip is the classic visionary- 
mystic voyage. I warn everyone not to take LSD unless they're 
prepared to have all their certainties and social securities shat- 
tered. You can't take LSD and come back to the television 
studios at San Fernando Valley State College and play that out 
with the same enthusiasm. You just can't pick up your robot 

Soul Session [ 261 

role again. This means that psychedelic people act diflferently 
for the most part when they come back. But they act; they're 
not just sitting around passively. In the last 6 or 7 years a small 
group of us, which has grown with almost miraculous rapidity, 
has brought about a change in the consciousness of the United 
States. Now we've done this through action and through effec- 
tive action and through tuned-in action. Lazy, confused, disor- 
ganized people don't bring about this sort of revolution in 
consciousness that we've brought about in this country. How- 
ever, the sort of action we recommend throws terror into the 
hearts of the people who direct the television studio in Sacra- 
mento or in Washington or in the administration offices of San 
Fernando Valley State College. Because the kids that come back 
from these trips just won't buy the middle-aged menopausal 
mind system. 

Sol: Would you care to elaborate on the phrase "menopausal 

Leary: Yes. I say there's one word which explains politics, 
economics and social conflict today. It's not "left" or "right" 
it's "age." The men who are running your college and your 
state and your government had their minds frozen somewhere 
between 1914 and 1920. That's when their vision of God and 
the world was formed, and baby, they're not going to change it. 
It's frozen in a World War I-Depression mentality, and we are 
now in a social process that is a thousand years beyond what 
they knew in high school and college. If you study the political 
events of the last two elections, you'll see that this age variable 
predicted some of the election surprises. Whenever you had a 
young, virile man whose eyes looked alive and looked as though 
he was carrying seed and who looked as though he could make 
love, he almost invariably defeated the older candidate regard- 
less of how liberal the older candidate's words might have 
sounded. I think we have an ominous situation in the United 
States today because of this menopausal mentality. The reason 
we have this insane political setup in the world today is because 
of these impotent and senile duffers, Mao in China, De Gaulle 
in France, Johnson here, playing out their visions of 40, 50, and 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 262 

60 years ago and very eager to send young, seed-carrying men to 
carry out their chess games of status and prestige. If everyone 
just took six months or one year and just dropped out, the 
creaky menopausal structure of the American power will just 
slowly crumble. I think every teen-age and college kid should go 
home and turn on their mother and father. "Come, Father, take 
off your shoes, feel the sand in your feet. Come on. Grandma, 
and light up, enjoy the beauties of nature around you." 

Sol: By "turn on," did you mean psychedelically turn on or 
enlighten otherwise? 

Leary: Turn them on in any way that you can. To turn on 
means to come to your senses. Older people start losing the 
internal power; they lose that connection of the 2-million-year 
thread of life and they get frightened and they want to have 
metal around them. The grandmother wants to have a metal 
kitchen, she wants to have a metal car, she wants to have steel 
around the country. This is a psychology of fear, fear of death 
and the fear of the loss of vigor. The kids should go home and 
turn on their parents by bringing her flowers and by bringing 
them music and by urging them to enjoy life. I think, for in- 
stance, that Johnson should go down and lie in the sun with 
Adam Clayton Powell, and he should come back to his senses 
and learn how to make love again. People who are carrying seed 
are concerned with the perpetuation of seed. It isn't conceivable 
to me that a young man or woman of twenty-five would do 
anything to blow up this planet. Though the men of fifty or 
sixty who are only going to be around for 10 or 15 years, sure, 
why, they would gladly blow the thing up for some concept of 
status and prestige. 

Sol: Why then, from the way you talk, I think we have 
jumped over some previous and necessary philosophical ana- 
lyzation. What, to you, is the most basic, important, and essen- 
tial point of life? I assume from the way you speak that it is the 
carrying of the seed, the regeneration of life itself through life 
and that this should be the central focal point of our lives, 
instead of such things as power, national honor and things of 
this sort. What should be the centering element of the energy 

Soul Session [ 263 

Leary: Well, youVe given me the answer to the question. 
Centering and harmony is the seed concept of all energy and of 
all life. Tolkien said in his wonderful trilogy The Fellowship of 
the Ring, where you had the forces of metal, fire and power 
opposed to the people who want to live in harmony with nature 
and to live free. Freedom and harmony are the keys to our 
religion and to the political movement to where it evolved in 
the United States today. Freedom to find your own inner 
potentiality and to develop it without coercion from an ex- 
ternal centralized authoritarian political entity. To get back in 
harmony with your own body and with life around you. Mod- 
ern American man is completely out of rhythm with nature; he 
is out of rhythm with the seasons; he is out of rhythm with the 
planets; he is out of rhythm with the soil. In the political 
situation there is going to be, in my opinion, a spiritual re- 
generation which is going to be brought about by turning on 
yourself and finding the basic rhythm inside and then turning it 
back in. 

Sol: I would like to talk for a second about the alleged 
harmful eJBEects of LSD to people biologically, physiologically 
and also some of the purported good effects it can have upon 
people. Do you care, first of all, to explain some of the good 
effects that you think it has had socially or that it can have 

Leary: You seem to equate good with social good. We feel 
you can't do good unless you feel good. You can't have a good 
society unless you have individuals who are turned on and are 
tuning in. 

Sol: The specific answer to which I was pointing to earlier 
was, is there any indication that persons who are or have been 
narcotic have been helped out of their addiction with LSD? 

Leary: I can introduce you to five of them right on this 
property, today. 

Sol: Is there or has there been any indication that persons 
who have had sexual hang-ups such as homosexuality, or mono- 
sexuality, if you would, can be helped out of this hang-up 
through LSD? 

Leary: Yes, there have been many studies which have sup- 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 264 

ported this that we know to be true personally. The psychedelic 
experience can help a person get back into a harmonious sexual 
activity. Homosexuality, for the most part, is a psychological or 
learned distortion. Since man is basically the seed-carrying 
male, he'll realize that he's been designed by the genetic code to 
act as the man and to pass on seed in the male way, so LSD may 
act as a specific aid to homosexuality. But only if the homo- 
sexual wants to change; there is no panacea here. 

Sol: You feel that there is needed research in this area? Or to 
your knowledge, is there any research being carried on in this 

Leary: Let me say something about research. The term 
research is the biggest sacred cow we got going in our country 
today. It is 99 percent phony. Any time you hear someone say 
he is going to do research, watch out because he is likely to be 
intruding upon your privacy for his own profit. We have no 
interest in doing research on LSD. Doing research on conscious- 
ness is very much like doing research on sex. Occasionally some 
psychiatrist wants to hook up a couple that he can persuade to 
perform sexual activities in the laboratory to study heart palpi- 
tations and temperature during lovemaking. If people want to 
do that, it is all right. But you know and I know that research 
on sex has to be done by you yourself. One of the problems of 
LSD in the United States today is that psychiatrists have tried to 
do research on LSD and have gotten nowhere, or they simply 
haven't had the experience themselves. Their interpretation 
and explanation of the LSD effect is exactly the interpretation 
of someone who hasn't had any sexual experience. Suppose 
some psychiatrist who had never had any sexual experience 
were to get a couple, and he would hook them up with ta- 
chometers and blood-pressure instruments and EKG and give 
them psychological tests during intercourse, and you see what a 
picture he paints! "Why, the simple task of performing multi- 
plication and division is lost during sexual intercourse! 
[Laughter'] Blood pressure goes up! . . . You froth at the 
mouth! . . . You utter strange animal cries! . . . Why, 
they're hardly civilized human beings! . . . They thrash 

Soul Session [ 265 

around and knock vases off the tables! . . . They wouldn't talk 
to you in a sensible way! . . . They wouldn't talk about ra- 
tional things like Nixon versus Reagan! Clearly this is a 
dangerous, convulsive type of experience, both psychologically 
and socially, which should be banned!" There have been plenty 
who would say exactly that about the sexual experience. If you 
give LSD to someone and he sits there quietly and won't talk to 
you for three hours, you say, "Oh, he's in a catatonic stupor," 
but then you talk to him later, and he says, "Stupor? No, I was 
flipping through revelations and delights of ecstasy. I was more 
alive than I'd ever been in my life." We're very much against 
the taboo of sacred cow research. You've got to do the research 
on your own consciousness. YOU've got to do the research on 
your own intimate way of life. No Big Brother daddy with an 
M.D. or Ph.D. can do these things for you. It's this Western 
engineering technological notion that people can do things for 
other people with forms of energy. 

Sol: What about the rumors of chromosomal disorders that 
have popped up lately? 

Leary: Well, now we'll get to your second question that has 
to deal with the dangers, but let me say one thing about the 
benefits of LSD. LSD is a key to releasing energy. Like any form 
of energy, it can be misused in the hands of the reckless or in 
the hands of the foolish, or in the hands of people who want to 
exploit for their own power motives. The real misuse of LSD is 
when it's in the hands of someone who would do it to someone 
else. The only control of LSD is self-control. The only benefits 
of LSD are the benefits you are willing to discipline yourself to 
get. You get from an LSD experience only what you bring to it 
and what you're ready to take away from it. There's a real 
panacea here. The benefits of LSD get you involved in the most 
difficult, disciplined yoga of all, 'cause you're learning how to use 
your head and learning how to use your body. Now the harms 
and dangers of LSD are mainly its danger to society. There's no 
evidence yet that LSD brings about any physiological damage. 
There's no evidence yet that LSD has any effect upon the brain 
itself in a deleterious way. Now it may, in the future, turn out to 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 266 

have effects we don't understand yet. Anyone who takes LSD is 
gambling; it's a risk. Of course, everything in our society is a 
risk. Putting your nervous system in front of a television tube 
and being battered by all those radiations may bring about 
changes that we don't understand. Now as far as the chromo- 
somal or genetic changes brought about by LSD, there was one 
research done at Buffalo which was a straight out-and-out hoax, 
and subsequent studies of this sort will demonstrate that this 
was a political piece of research designed admittedly before the 
research was done to prove that it was dangerous. It was done by 
a man named Cohen. These studies were in vetro that means 
cells that were in tubes, not in the living organism. Changes in 
those cells could be brought about by any number of substances 
in the heavy dosages they were using, and it tells nothing about 
any changes. There's no evidence from these anthropological 
sources or from the clinical data provided by the hundreds of 
LSD babies that are being born each year that would suggest 
danger. . . . There are LSD babies right around this house. 
They were conceived under LSD and born during LSD ex- 

Sol: You were saying that through thousands of years of 
usage there is no evidence that hallucinogens have affected our 
evolutionary code? 

Leary: No, there are specific tribes in Mexico, the Maztec 
tribe, which uses psilocybin, and I know of no evidence that any 
harmful mutations have taken place. 

Sol: What form of? 

Leary: On the other hand, I want to make it clear that I'm 
not saying anything positive about LSD. I'm not saying in this 
interview that anyone automatically benefits from LSD, and 
serious questions are raised in our minds all the time about the 
use of LSD. How much energy and neurological revelation can 
the frenzied human mind tolerate without flipping out? LSD 
possibly shouldn't be used in the widespread way in which it is. 
We seriously concern ourselves about such questions. But we do 
object to pseudoscientific statements from psychiatrists and pub- 
lic health officials which breed fear and panic in the American 

Soul Session [ 267 

people about scientific questions that won't be answered for 

Sol: What form of society do you envision 50 years from 

Leary: We have worked out very detailed blueprints, prophe- 
cies and predictions as to what we think will happen in the next 
50, the next 100, even the next 500 years. But I hesitate to 
attempt to spell this out now because it sounds too farfetched; it 
would sound like science fiction, speculation. The profession of 
the prophet, and anyone who takes LSD is likely to be thrown 
into this profession, is a very risky one because we see things 
that can happen, and we have to be careful how much informa- 
tion we feed back to our primitive social system before they 
think we are nuts, before they blame us for what is inevitably 
going to happen. We predicted 6 years ago that there was going 
to be a psychedelic revolution; now they listen to us. We went 
to Washington and told the FDA that this was going to happen. 

Now, when it happened, when millions of kids started turning 
on, Caesar and his bureaucrats blamed us for the psychedelic 
inundation. But to go back to your question, with all these 
preliminary qualifications, man is going to get back in harmony 
with his body, with fellow man, and with other forms of life on 
this planet. Man is going to realize that consciousness is the key 
to human life, and instead of power struggles over territory and 
possession of weapons, the focus of man's energies is going to be 
on consciousness. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the great Jesuit 
philosopher, has spelled out the psychedelic vision in which the 
world will become unified in one field of consciousness. This 
will happen through the mass media in the hands of indi- 
viduals, not networks. It will also happen through the psyche- 
delic experience. The differences which cause conflicts among 
men and between man and other forms of nature are going to 
be brought back in harmony. All metal, concrete, electricity 
and atomic energy is going to go underground. Man is going to 
realize that his precarious hold on this strange planet depends 
upon a thin film of about 10 inches of topsoil, and it's a very 
delicate balance of energies of cellular and different species that 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 268 

keeps his delicate web of life going. Every time man takes metal 
or stone from under the ground and puts it in sheets over the 
delicate, sensitive skin of the planet, he is killing and disrupting 
this net. So you will find all technology underground. The city 
of New York 200 years from now will look as it did 200 years 
ago. The air will recapture the life-giving balance it is supposed 
to have. The rivers and waters will not be polluted. Man is 
going to tidy up the mess he's made in this very recent techno- 
logical fling. Man has just been intoxicated by machines for 200 
years. He is going to come off it and sober up. Man is also going 
to discover that machines are no fun. That fun comes from the 
senses and from your body and from human interaction and 
consciousness. Everything is centered on consciousness, and no 
amount of steel and metal and apparatus is going to give one 
second of real ecstasy or real communion. 

Sol: Where will the people live when this type of a parklike 
atmosphere or a natural state has returned to the earth? 

Leary: People will live some of the time under the ground 
and some of the time above the ground in buildings which will 
be harmonized with the soil and plant life around them. Now 
this will sound like science fiction or fantasy, but actually we are 
doing this at Millbrook, and if you look around at this property 
you will see an embryonic stage of these wild predictions going 
on. We even have soil on the roof to symbolize to us that this is 
a cave we live in, this house. And you will find if you go out 
into the woods today, members of our community building little 
cottages and tepees, who want to live out in the woods this 
summer. You will see in our meditation gardens and in our 
daily activities here a slow cellular development toward this 
Utopia which I have been describing. We think that our proph- 
ecies and our scientific fantasies are more likely to come true 
than any others because if you listen to the government- 
supported scientific agencies, they are just predicting to the 
next antimissile missile. Most of your politicians are just inter- 
ested in predicting to the next election. They are interested in 
the next intersection of power where their status is going to be 
concerned, and there are very few people who are thinking 

Soul Session [ 269 

more than 15 or 20 years ahead. But people who are in tune 
with their own seed energy, like ourselves, are about the only 
people who are spinning out blueprints; therefore our blue- 
print is more likely to come about than the more secular and 
limited blueprints of the politicians. 

Sol: Back just a second to the underground, with the steel 
and concrete and stuff. H. G. Wells formulated a science fiction 
story called The Time Machine, which predicted a world of this 
sort back about 20 or 30 years ago. I think he said around the 
year 2000. He visualized a dualized society where the flower 
people lived on the surface 

Leary: Oh, really? 

Sol: and the machine people lived underground. Do you 
foresee this? 

Leary: Yes. That's interesting. I have not read that nor read 
those phrases but it is exactly my own conception; it just makes 
organic sense. 

Sol: Have you seen the movie The Time Machine? 

Leary: No, I didn't. 

Sol: As a matter of fact 

Leary: I would like to see it. 

Sol: it is parallel to what's happening here. 

Leary: What I think will happen is that man will live 
aboveground and will recapitulate preseed cycles. Seed cycles 
where one will relive the entire growth process inside your 
mother's womb. Then you do it again as you grow up as a child, 
if you live aboveground; and you will do it again, a third time, 
if you have children. Now in this society, people will start 
having children when the DNA thought they should, not when 
they get their Ph.D. but when they start to become adolescents. 
The DNA code has designed us to have babies at the age of 
thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, because that is when the seed power 
is at its height. But of course, our chessboard, artificial society, 
postpones this, and it's fighting the wisdom of the DNA code. It 
is purely possible for someone to have completed the three seed 
cycles once in the womb, once growing up yourself, and once 
growing up with your children at the age of twenty-three or 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 270 

twenty-four; you are ready to live out of the cycle. I don't think 
people should be taught control of metal and these potentially 
antilife energies until they have completed three seed cycles and 
have enough reverence for, and understanding of life that they 
can then be allowed to deal with life-killing instruments. The 
problem is that the person doesn't really hasn't been turned on 
to his life seed thing. He thinks nothing of taking these instru- 
ments of death into his hands like the gas engine and killing 
life with it. So we have teen-age kids with guns and autos, and 
this doesn't make sense to our DNA code. At the age of twenty- 
five or twenty-six you say, well, you have a choice. You can live 
aboveground, or if you would like to go on to the next level, if 
you are at that stage of holiness and you understand the sacred- 
ness of life, you can be trusted with the more powerful sacra- 
ments of electricity and energy. Then you go belowground, and 
our understanding of the nervous system acceleration, chemi- 
cally and electronically, is such that you can be taught the 
symbols of electronic physics. You know, our educational sys- 
tems are so brutally inefficient and so shamefully disregard the 
crux of the matter. When we teach kids in school, we teach 
them not to learn. At the age of twenty, twenty-four, whenever 
a person is holy enough to learn these more powerful energies, 
why, then he can learn very quickly. You can teach someone 
nuclear physics in three or four months. Then he can live 
underground, he can do his yoga. There will be breakthroughs 
in physics so that telepathy in 10 or 15 years will be common- 
place. Physics is going to expand as more physicists turn on. 

Sol: You have mentioned that in keeping with an attune- 
ment with the natural stage of our lives, there is a point at 
which a person should cease to attempt to continue to control or 
affect things. I want to talk about the menopausal mind and 
when a person is entering old age. Do you feel at this point that 
people should just sit back and enjoy life or what there is of it 

Leary: Yes, they should realize that the whole thing is a 
spiritual journey, and the person over fifty, who is dying any- 
way, who's half dead, should concentrate on coming to terms 

Soul Session [ 271 

with his own death and getting an overall perspective and 
gracefully turning it over to the young people. So we've got to 
get the older people to turn on. We've got to get big reserva- 
tions for older people instead of these senior citizens places 
where we surround them with machines. We've got to get them 
to do nothing but dance and make love with God. They should 
radiate humor and mellowness, and they don't care about power 
anymore, and you should be able to go to older people as you 
did in the village tribe, and the old man is sitting there 
barefoot, half-naked, with his beard, and he's glowing, and he 
doesn't care. A holy man is someone who doesn't care about the 
little chess game of power; he doesn't care about the chess game 
of possessions; he doesn't care about sex, even; he's beyond all 
these bodily things and he's radiating the joys of all of every- 
thing. That's why we've got to get our older people to turn on. 

Sol: Now I know that it's hard to set arbitrary evaluations, 
but at that stage, do you feel a person begins to step into this 
realm that you say ends at around fifty or some stage where the 
menopausal mind sets in? Where does a person first enter life's 
power zone, as it were? 

Leary: All this has been spelled out in oriental philosophy. 
The West knows all about machines and fails to realize that all 
the wisdom has come from the East. The Hindus were dealing 
with these problems that the psychedelic generation is dealing 
with 4,000 years ago. It's all spelled out in the sacred teachings 
of the East, and they say that there are the 4 stages of life in 
which you've got to learn to use your senses and your seed power, 
and naturally you're going to enjoy your sensual body. You're 
going to enjoy making love and to have babies and to support 
your babies. You're going to have duties, and then you have to 
have a little power, enough to protect your territory and to feed 
and support your group. And when your kids are old enough to 
take over, then you go to the fourth, which is the goal, the end 
point where you can say, I'm dropping out. I don't have to worry 
anymore. Now I can just You go to the holy cities, like Rishi- 
kish in India, and there are all these old people there that have 
been businessmen in Bombay and college professors, and you'll 

The Politics of Ecstasy [272 

find some old ex-governor Reagans naked in Rishikish going 
around barefoot, and they've got these orange robes, and it's 
just a big LSD session. Everyone's high, and you don't care 
about the British Empire and taxation; they're beyond that. 
They're just there to hear the roar of the Ganges reminding 
them that it's been going on for thousands of years. 

Sol: Do you anticipate, then, the evolution of a new type of 
homogeneous society? H. G. Wells' idea was of a polarized 
society and that they clashed 

Leary: Yes. 

Sol: Do you anticipate a clash now and later the evolution to 
a homogeneous society, or do you think that the clash will? 

Leary: The clash can be avoided by consulting your own 
energy system and seeing that there is a place for everything a 
place for the machine people and a place for the seed, flower 
people; you just have to arrange your own life so that you can 
follow a harmonious sequence. Now we are very much against 
polarization. Conflict. There is a danger, though, that it will go 
that way, there is a danger that man will evolve into different 
species. We must realize that evolution is not through, that 
man is not a final product, and just as there are many species of 
primate, there may be just as many species evolving from what 
we now call man, homo sapiens. It may well be that we'll have 
two species. One species, which is the machine species, will like 
to live in metal buildings and skyscrapers and will get their 
kicks by just becoming part of a machine. That species of man 
will become an unnecessary, easily worn-out part of the whole 
technological machinery. In that case, man will become anony- 
mousjust like the anthill or the beehive. Sex will become very 
depersonalized. It will become very promiscuous. You won't 
care who you make love to because they're all just replaceable 
parts. You know, she's the new pretty blond girl who runs the 
teletype machine, and you'll ball her, and then tomorrow, the 
secretary who runs the electronic typewriter; so that we may 
well get a new species who will be technological. But I do know 
that our seed-flower species will continue. And we may hang out 
in new pockets of disease which the machine people haven't 

Soul Session [ 273 

cleaned up with their antiseptics. And we'll be somewhere out 
in the marshes, or somewhere out in the woods, laughing at the 
machine and enjoying our senses and having ecstasies and re- 
membering where we came from and teaching our children 
that, believe it or not, we're not machines and we weren't de- 
signed to make machines and we weren't designed to run ma- 
chines. I think you have to be a very holy man to appreciate 
and understand and run a machine because the machine is a 
beautiful yoga and a beautiful ecstasy. I've nothing against 
machines; it's just incredible that the DNA code could produce 
us and then produce these machines. It's part of the glory of 
God's process, but the machine's got to be seen as a sacrament, 
not as a god. 

Sol: The way our society's structured, currently, legally un- 
fortunately, this is the supranatural structure which is imposed 
upon us legally a person attains to and reaches the age of ma- 
turity at the age of twenty-one and continues in that state until 
his death. 

Leary: Right. 

Sol: Now, at what point do you believe a person does attain 
to this realization of himself? 

Leary: Obey the DNA code! I scoff at the chess-game laws 
of man; they are all old men that rule and pass such laws. There 
was never a young teen-ager that passed a law against sex. 
Rightl Or a poor young teen-ager that passed laws about guard- 
ing a bank. I follow the laws of nature, and nature tells you 
when someone should vote. Now when a girl menstruates, 
nature is saying that she is ready, and when a young man 
reaches puberty, nature is saying that he is ready. One of the 
terrible things, of course, about the menopausal society is that 
the older you get, the more brain damaged you are, but in our 
society, the older you get, the more power you get. So we now 
have this paradoxical, suicidal situation in the United States, all 
of the wealth being in the hands of the menopausal people, who 
are naturally only concerned with protecting this, and that's 
why we have a very unhappy, violent country. We are physically 
violent; there is murder, and there's assassination and there is 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 274 

worry. Look at Johnson's face; he is not a happy man. And look 
at those old devils in Congress; they're not happy, joyous 
people. It disturbs me as it disturbs all turned-on prophets- 
there is so much unnecessary suffering. I think that there should 
be laws that allow people to vote at puberty, and you should 
certainly take voting away at menopause. No one over the age 
of fifty should be allowed to vote. Why should they bother? The 
reason they vote is because they have no trust in the kids, no 
trust in the seed bearers. If they really trusted the process, they 
would gladly give up the vote. 

Sol: I still have a few questions. Seems like we keep picking 
up extra ones as we go along: A few moments ago you used the 
term "God." From your perspective, who, what, where, when, 
and why is God? [General laughter] Because we have concepts 
of God and so many young, pseudo- or neo-intellectuals become 
atheistic or nontheistic or pantheistic. 

Leary: a lot of people think I've sold out because we've 
started a religion. Some kids think that religion means all the 
hypocrisy of the Congressman, and the faggot minister and the 
conservative Sunday school and so forth. I think this is tragic 

Sol: Are you using the ploy of religion to get by the LSD 

Leary: No, we had a religion going long before we started 
our league formally. We were a religious group 5 or 6 years ago, 
when we originally came here. Like it or not, or believe it or not, 
I'm convinced that the religious kick is the only experience 
that makes life worthwhile. The moment of revelation when 
you're turned on to the whole process, which men of old called 
the mystic, is the whole purpose of life. The great religious 
leaders were the greatest figures of all. Buddha was the most 
tumed-on guy. Buddha wanted to get rid of suffering. All the 
concepts about virtue, hard work, and being good are part of 
that old con game. Religion to us is ecstasy. It is freedom and 
harmony. Kids should not let the fake, television-prop religion 
they were taught as kids turn them off. The real trip is the God 
trip. Now to get back to the question as to who is God: For 
thousands of years skeptics have been asking visionaries like me. 

Soul Session [ 275 

"All right, who is God? Does he speak Latin? Does he speak 
Greek? Does he have a white skin or a black one?" You think I 
can use a 3,000- word language like English to define a process 
which is 5 billion years old on this planet and which operates at 
the speed of light and manifests itself in ever-changing forms? I 
can teach you how to find God. I can teach you methods; that's 
my profession. To talk to God yourself, you are going to have to 
throw away all your definitions and just surrender to this 
process, and then you can come back and try to tune in and 
develop an art form which will communicate your vision. God 
does exist and is to me this energy process; the language of God 
is the DNA code. Beyond that, the language of God is the 
nucleus of the atom. Above that, the language of God is the 
exquisite, carefully worked out dialogue of the planets and the 
galaxies, etc. And it does exist and there is an intelligence and 
there is a planfulness and a wisdom and power that you can 
tune in to. Men have called this process, for the lack of a better 
word, "God." I know that when I was at Harvard, God was a 
dirty word; God is "dog" spelled backward. I don't care what 
you call it. It took me 5 years of taking LSD before I would say 
the word "God" out loud. Because you have to feel right to say 
it, and I feel very comfortable now in saying that I do talk to 
God and I listen to Him. He is a hipster. He is a musician, and 
He's got a great beat going. You'll never find Him in an institu- 
tion or in an American television stage set. He's never legal 1 
And He's got a great sense of humor, too! I digressed, and I 
repeated myself and I don't pretend to talk in any linear fashion. 
I'm not writing a book or a paragraph. I'm more like a musi- 
cian, and I repeat riffs. . . . You can feel free to edit, cut out, 
or move it around any way that you want. I hope you will, for 
I've been repeating myself. 

Sol: One last question. It is necessary, you said, to protect 
property rights. It will be necessary for there to be some basic 

Leary: Render unto Caesar everything external. 

Sol: What is Caesar? 

Leary: Society, politics, rules. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 276 

Sol: How would this be achieved in the projected society 
which could be achieved, ideally? Would we have to elect 1 out 
of every 15 persons and have him go and represent those 15? 
Will there be tribal elders? 

Leary: Democracy is a failure because it is based upon a 
political unit which is not organic the individual mind. The 
political unit should be the tribe; property should be held by 
the tribe, by the extended family. Voting should be by the 
extended family. The idea that one man decides to vote for 
Johnson or Goldwater. Ha, ha! Some choice, right? My mind is 
going to decide. That's putting too much burden on my mind; 
it exaggerates my personality. We must return to advance to 
the tribal unit of society. 



Goof's Secret Agent A.0.S.3 

Rosemary and I had been waiting for Him for five hours. He's 
always and deliberately erratic about appointments. Science 
fiction James Bond paranoia. Throw off police surveillance. 
Suddenly I could feel His presence. A telepathic hit. He really 
does emit powerful vibrations. A minute later His boots 
drummed on the walk. 

He looked tired, pale, but the furry, quick animal tension 
was still there. Black leather sleeveless jacket. Wide-sleeved, 
multicolored theatrical shirt. Jangling bells. The magician. The 
electronic wizard. 

He had been up several days working in his laboratory and 
was coming off an acid high. He wanted to be warm. 

Rosemary and I built up the fire, lit candles and fell out on a 
low divan. He paced the floor in front of us. He's not tall, and 
He likes to stay above His listeners, higher than everyone else, 
moving while they rest. 

He started a three-hour rap abour energy, electronics, drugs, 
politics, the nature of God and the place of man in the divine 
system. Laughing at His own brilliance, turning himself on, 
turning us on. Einsteinian physics and Buddhist philosophy 
translated into the fast, right, straight rhythm of acid-rock hip. 

The television folk heroes of today are the merry outlaws of 
the past. The television Robin Hoods of the future, the folk 
heroes of the twenty-first century, will be the psychedelic drug 

He doesn't want me to use his name. 


The Politics of Ecstasy [ 278 

promoters of the 1960's. A good bet for romantic immortality is 
A.O.S.3. God's Secret Agent A.O.S.3, acid king, LSD millionaire, 
test-tube Pancho Villa, is the best-known of a band of dedicated, 
starry-eyed chemical crusaders who outwitted the wicked, gun- 
toting federals and bravely turned on the land of the young and 
the free to the electronic harmony of the future. 

In the daily press the Reagans and Romneys merit the 
adulatory headlines. The Holy Alchemists, if mentioned at all, 
are denounced as sordid criminals. But the simple truth is that 
the Reagans and Romneys will soon be forgotten. Can anyone 
remember which Republicans were struggling for the nomina- 
tion in 1956? 

The mythic folk heroes of our times will be the psychedelic- 
drug outlaws, the science fiction Johnny Appleseeds who build 
secret laboratories, scrounge the basic chemicals, experiment, 
experiment, experiment to develop new ecstasy pills, who test 
their homemade sacraments on their own bodies and the flesh of 
their trusting friends, who distribute the precious new waters of 
life through a network of dedicated colleagues, forever under- 
ground, hidden, as the mysteries have always been hidden from 
the hard-eyed agents of Caesar, Pharaoh, Herod, Pope Paul, 
Napoleon, Stalin, Lyndon B. Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover. 

For the last seven years I have watched with admiration these 
LSD frontiersmen, the Golden Bootleggers, manufacture and 
pass on the sacraments. Laughing, pupil-dilated, visionary al- 
chemists who seek nothing less than the sudden mind-blowing 
liberation of their fellow man. 

First, of course, there was reluctant Albert Hoffman of 
Sandoz, the staid, involuntary agent mysteriously selected to 
give LSD to the human race. The full story of this remarkable 
Swiss scientist remains to be told. But this much I have heard. 
His first LSD trips were deep, revelatory religious experiences. 
The establishment press tries to tell us that Hoffman's first 
sessions were accidental and frightening and freaky. The facts 
are that Hoffman, a spiritual man, grasped immediately the 
implications of his discovery and initiated a high-level, ethical, 
gentleman's conspiracy of philosophically minded scientists to 

God's Secret Agent A.0.S.3 [ 279 

disseminate LSD for the benefit of the human race. His tactical 
mistake (if, indeed, he made one) was to work through the 
established professions, failing to see that a complete revision of 
social form would necessarily follow the use of his discovery. 

Rosemary had made tea and put a red sanctuary light on the 
gold-framed madonna. He paced in front of us like a newly 
caged animal. {Rosemary, what kind of animal is He? Oh, He's 
furry, warm, nervous, whiskers twitching, ears alert, carnivorous 
but gentle. Like a squirrel, but bigger. Perhaps a badger or a 
raccoon. They are very intelligent.) 

He preaches: Oh, man, how beautifully it all fits together. 
Dig, the first atomic fission occurred in December 1942. 

Is that the one in the Chicago squash court? 

Yeah. Now dig. The Van Allen belt is a thick blanket of 
electronic activity protecting this planet. What is the earth? A 
core of molten metals covered by a thin layer of soft, vulner- 
able, organic tissue. Life nibbling away, nibbling away at the 
rock beneath. All life on this planet is a delicate network uni- 
fied. Each living form feeding on the others. And being eaten. 
The Van Allen belt is the higher intelligence protecting earth 
from lethal solar radiation, and it's in touch with every form of 
living intelligence on the earth vegetable, animal, human. 

I laughed. Alchemist, you are so orthodox! Our Father who 
art in heaven above! I pointed upward. He really is up there, 
huh? Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in 
the Van Allen belt! 

He didn't stop to acknowledge my comment. Somehow He 
records neurologically what I say and reprograms it, and prints 
it back out to me in endless tapes of electronic poety, but He 
never listens. 

Now dig. The Supreme Intelligence sees that man has redis- 
covered atomic energy. Wow! We gotta stop those cats before 
they disrupt the whole living network. The only thing DNA 
fears is radiation. That's why the Van Allen belt is there. 

OK, now get this. Four months after the first fission, Hoffman 
accidentally, ha ha, rediscovers LSD, which is now psychoactive. 


The Politics of Ecstasy [ 280 

Yeahj man. Actually Hoffman first synthesized LSD in 1938, 
but it gave no hit. No turn-on. Now why is it that Hoffman 
handles LSD in 1938 and nothing happens and then in 1943, 
three months after atomic energy is released, he puts his finger 
on lysergic acid and gets flipped out? What happened? Did 
Hoffman suddenly get careless? Or had LSD suddenly been 
changed into a psychedelic chemical? Competent chemists just 
don't change their handling of compounds. Hoffman's tech- 
niques are standard. 

His eyes are dancing and He's laughing and his hands and 
body are moving. He was a ballet dancer once before He started 
making drugs. 

Now dig. The atomic fission in December 1942 changed the 
whole system of energy in this solar system. The higher intelli- 
gence decides to make a few simple changes in the electronic 
structure of some atoms, and zap! We have LSD, an incredibly 
powerful substance that is the exact antidote to atomic energy. 
People take LSD, and flash! They get the message and start 
putting things back in harmony with the great design. Stop war! 
Wear flowers! Conservation! Turning on people to LSD is the 
precise and only way to keep war from blowing up the whole 

Hoffman's plan was to persuade square psychiatrists and 
medical researchers to use LSD. But of course, it never happens 
that way. The respectable researchers were afraid. They didn't 
get the point. So the first far-out, messianic apostle-alchemist of 
the psychedelic age was a rum-drinking, snake-oil-fundamental- 
ist-Bible Belt salesman type named Hal Lubbard. Like A.O.S.3, 
Hal Lubbard is a legendary, behind-the-scenes operator whose 
brilliance was deliberatly shielded behind a veil of rumor. This 
much is known. In the 1950's Lubbard was turned on to LSD 
and got the message at once. He had made money in uranium 
mining during the forties and saw the connection right away. 
(Do you?) Then this incredible shaman playing the role of an 
uneducated, coarse, blustering, Roman Catholic hillbilly boozer 
proceeded to turn on several dozen top sophisticated scientists 
and show them the sacramental meaning of LSD. 

God's Secret Agent A.0.S.3 [ 281 

When the medical associations complained about nonmedics 
dispensing drugs, Hal chuckled and bought a doctor's degree 
from a diploma store in the South for fifty dollars, and as Doctor- 
Tongue-in-Cheek, Lubbard was accepted admiringly by psy- 
chiatrist Osmond, scientist Hofer, and Aldous Huxley and 
philosopher Gerald Heard and even Sidney Cohen of UCLA. 
Hal Lubbard was the first psychedelic tactician to see that 
supply-control of the drug would be a key issue in the future, so 
he kept up a mysterious schedule of procurement-distribution 
flights. East Coast-West Coast-East Europe-West Europe, 
bargaining, wheedling, swapping to build up the first under- 
ground supply of the most precious substance the world has 
ever known. The current retail price of LSD is from $20,000 to 
$50,000 a gram. A million dollars an ounce. 

Lubbard's plan was to have a chain of medically approved 
LSD clinics throughout the country. It was a brilliant, Utopian, 
American-businessman stroke of genius and would have, among 
other things, ended the threat of war on this planet, but 
Lubbard failed to realize that spiritual revelations and Buddhist 
ecstasies were the last thing that the medical associations and 
government bureaus run by J. Edgar Lyndon were going to 
approve, and the International Foundation for Advanced 
Studies, his pilot clinic in Menlo Park, California (which 
turned on several hundred of the most influential people in the 
San Francisco Bay area) , was ruthlessly closed by the FDA in 
spite of its impressive psychiatric and medical credentials. So 
Hal Lubbard dropped out, disappeared and was reincarnated in 
the new form of Dr. Spaulding. 

It was a gray, cold, winter day in 1962. Dick Alpert and I 
took the day off from Harvard and flew in Dick's plane to New 
York. Dick's father was president of the New Haven Railroad, 
and the cop under Grand Central saluted as we got into the 
huge black Cadillac with the license plate NHRR, which was 
equipped with two-way radio and an extra set of wheels to run 
on tracks, 

I asked Dick, "Who owns Grand Central Station?** 

He said, *' Pennsylvania Railroad owns half, and we own half." 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 282 

Dick was good at throwing away lines. We headed south to visit 
a chemical factory. Going through the waterfront-Mafia section 
of Jersey City, I had to laugh. Two Harvard professors driving 
in a black limousine through the dark slum city to score drugs 
which would change the world. 

In the wood-paneled conference room of Sandoz Laboratories 
the top pharmaceutical executives laughed uneasily. We are a 
medical drug house. How can we market an ecstasy pill to be 
used by God seekers? The vice-president grinned. Let's say LSD 
isn't a drug. Let's call it a food and bottle it like Coca-Cola! The 
company lawyer's reflex frown. As a food, it still mu^t be 
licensed by the FDA, and they think medical. 

The conference was a failure. They were sympathetic but 
weren't going to lose their AMA-FDA respectability by releas- 
ing LSD to the public. We shook hands, and Dick said, "Well, 
gentlemen, we'll have to do your marketing for you." And we 
all laughed. 

One of the crew-cut executives escorted us down to the car. 
On the elevator, he suddenly pulled a pill bottle out of his 
pocket and shoved it in my hand. 'Tve taken LSD. I know 
what's happening. Here's five grams. Don't say where you got it. 
Use it wisely." 

By this time (1962) we had set up a loose but effective dis- 
tribution system for free LSD. A university psychologist in the 
Midwest. A God-intoxicated businessman in Atlanta. A few 
God-loving ministers and rabbis. David Soloman, at that time 
editor of the jazz magazine Metronome. Allen Ginsberg. Dozens 
of holy psychiatrists. All giving psychedelics to people they 
knew were ready for the trip. A responsible network of friends. 

Every time our supplies would run low, a new shaman- 
alchemist would appear. 

Like Bernie and Barnie, the flipped-out desert holy men, who 
had been taking the peyote trip with the Indians for years and 
writing crazy, brilliant, illiterate books on telepathy and accel- 
erated learning through LSD. Bernie claimed to have mastered 
the German language in two acid sessions. They had learned 
how to make LSD, which they distributed in rubber-stopped 

God's Secret Agent A.0.S.3 [ 283 

bottles, a strange brown elixir with curious green seaweed 
strands. They sold the sacrament at bargain rates to dozens of 
famous people in California before they were treacherously 
betrayed to the feds. They didn't get along well with their 
defense attorneys and built their case around an insane plot to 
get the judge and jury to taste their brew, which would have 
revolutionized jurisprudence forever. But the judge recoiled in 
horror and gave them 19-year sentences, which they jumped. 
God be with you, beloved guides, wherever you are. 

Some time later (the exact date must be kept vague) I was 
lecturing in a college town. A note to my hotel. Please call a 
Doctor Spaulding. Urgent. Had to see me after the lecture. 

He was a distinguished-looking man in his fifties. One of the 
ten leading chemists in the country. Big-boned, handsome, 
jolly, athlete-scholar type. 

He drove his car with strange jungle caution, checking the 
rear-view mirror, doubling around blocks. He drove to the 
middle of a deserted supermarket parking lot and stopped the 
car. Cloak and dagger. He came right to the point. He had 
taken LSD several times. He knew what it would do. He also 
knew that the government was alarmed. A lot of high-level 
people had turned on and knew that LSD was a religious 
experience. But they were worried. Big power struggle over 
control of drugs in Washington. The narcotics bureau of the 
Treasury Department wanted to keep all drugs illegal, to step 
up law enforcement, add thousands of T-men, G-men and narks 
to the payroll. On the other hand, the medics and scientists in 
the government wanted the FDA to handle all drugs, including 
heroin, pot, LSD. Make it a medical matter. Would I make a 
deal? Would I tell the FDA all I knew about the black market 
and smash the underground distribution of LSD? If I coop- 
erated, I'd be guaranteed research approval to use LSD. We had 
to help the FDA get control of the drugs. Then marijuana and 
LSD would be legal for licensed use. But we had to keep the 
kids from getting LSD or the hard-line-cop faction in Washing- 
ton would get the anti-LSD legislation they wanted. If I didn't 
cooperate, I'd be busted. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 284 

I looked at him and laughed. Not a chance. This is a country 
of free citizens. LSD and marijuana are none of the govern- 
ment's business to give or take away. If it's a choice, I'd rather 
have the kids using LSD than the doctors. Kids are holier. And 
if it's a choice between becoming a government informer or get 
busted, I'll go to jail. 

Dr. Spaulding laughed knowingly. Okay, I had to make the 
offer, but I knew you wouldn't scare. But you should know that 
a big government crackdown is coming. All the sources of LSD 
will be sealed off. You better stock up. How much do you have 
on hand now? 

Not much. A few thousand doses. 

How much LSD can you use? 

I looked at him in surprise. He starts out like a fed, and now 
he's offering me acid. 

He saw my look and started to explain. A few of us saw this 
coming several years ago. We started stockpiling the raw lyser- 
gic acid base. We have the largest supply of LSD in the world. 
More than Sandoz, more than Red China, more than our De- 
fense Department. We want to give it away to responsible 
people who won't try to profit by it and who can get it out to 
the people. Okay. How much can you distribute in one year? 

The scene was surrealistic. This famous, eminently respect- 
able professor offering to set us up with unlimited supplies of 
acid. It was hard to keep from laughing. I asked him one ques- 

Oh, you know why, Tim. Can you see any hope for this 
homicidal, neurologically crippled species other than a mass 
religious ecstatic convulsion? Okay. How much do you want? 

We can get rid of 200 grams in a year. That's 2 million 

Dr. Spaulding nodded. Fine. You'll receive a four-year sup- 
plya thousand grams in the next few weeks. Each package will 
contain 100 grams of LSD powder. Get scales to put it in doses. 
Keep it sterile. Alcohol or even vodka. Dilute it down. If you 
can't get a pill machine, dilute it down and drop it on sugar 

God's Secret Agent A.0.S.3 [ 285 

He started the car and drove back to my hotel. How many 
people are you distributing to this way? Not many, he answered. 
In chemistry, every process has to develop at its own natural 
tempo. We have enough LSD stored now to keep every living 
American turned on for several years. 

That was the only time I met Dr. Spaulding. A week later the 
acid began arriving at Millbrook in brown manila envelopes 
and hollowed-out books mailed from different cities throughout 
the country. In hardly any time at all we had given away 10 
million doses. 

It was ten in the evening by now. Rosemary and I were 
starved. A.O.S.3 was still too high to he hungry, hut He was 
responding telepathically to our stomach pangs. Organic matter 
nihhling the granite, each life form eating each other. Endless 
transformation of energy. Galaxies feeding each other. 

Alchemist, do us a favor and don't mention eating, okay? We 
haven't had supper yet. 

He was spinning us along an epic-poem trip through the 
levels of creation. He can really tell it. I've studied with the 
wisest sages of our times Huxley, Heard, Lama Govinda, Sri 
Krishna Prem, Alan Watts and I have to say that A.O.S.3, 
college flunk-out, who never wrote anything hetter (or worse) 
than a few ruhher checks, has the hest up-to-date perspective of 
the divine design I've ever listened to. 

To hegin with, He hegins where they all heginat the begin- 
ning. He had taken the full LSD trip, hurled down through His 
cellular reincarnations, disintegrated heyond life into pulsing 
electron grids, whirled down heyond atomic form to that uni- 
tary center that is one, pure, radiant humming vibration. Yin. 
Yin. Yin. Yang. Yang. Yang. 

His face was glowing, and He was screaming that full-throated 
God cry that was torn from the lungs of Moses and shrieked by 
San Juan de la Cruz and which Rosemary and I heard most 
recently just after our sunrise wedding on the desert mountain 
top bellowed by the bone-tissue-hlood trumpet of Ted Marck- 
landthe eternal, unmistakable cry of the man who has heard 
God's voice and shouted back in joyous, insane acceptance. If 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 286 

you've ever opened your ears to anyone who has surrendered, 
wide-eyed, to the sound of God, you know what I mean. 

He shook his head and laughed. I can't say it in words. God, 
man, I've got to learn a musical instrument so I can really say 
what it sounds like. 

Yes, A.O.S.3 carries the official stamp on His skin's passport 
that He has been where all the great mystics have been that 
point where you see it all and hear it all and know it all belongs 
together. But how can you describe an electronic rhythm of 
which 5 billion years of our planetary evolution is just one beat? 
He is in the same position as every returned visionary grab- 
bing at ineffective words. But check His prophetic credentials. 
High native intelligence coupled with a photographic memory. 
Solid grasp of electronics. Absorbed biological texts. Knows 
computer theory. Has hung out with the world's top orientalists 
and Hindu scholars. Has lived with and designed amplifiers for 
the farthest-out rock band, the Dateful Gread. As a sniffing, 
alert, inquisitive mammal of the twentieth century. He has 
poked His quivering, whiskered nose into all the dialects and 
systems by which man attempts to explain the divine. 

Throughout history the alchemist has always been a magical, 
awesome figure. The potion. The elixir. The secret formulary. 
Experimental metaphysics. Those old alchemists weren't really 
trying to transmute lead to gold. That's just what they told the 
federal agents. They were actually looking for the philosopher's 
stone. The waters of life. The herb, root, vine, seed, fruit, 
powder that would turn on, tune in and drop out. 

And every generation or so, someone would rediscover the 
key. And the key is always chemical. Consciousness is a chemical 
process. Learning, sensing, remembering, forgetting are altera- 
tions in a biochemical book. Life is chemical. Matter is chemical. 

His bells jingling as He gesticulates. Everything is hooked 
together with electrons. And if you study how electrons work, 
you learn how everything is hooked up. You are close to God. 
Chemistry is applied theology. 

The alchemist-shaman-wizard-medicine man is always a 
fringe figure. Never part of the conventional social structure. It 

God's Secret Agent A.0.S.3 [ 287 

has to be. In order to listen to the shuttling, whispering, ancient 
language of energy (long faint sighs across the millennia) , you 
have to shut out the noise of the marketplace. You flip yourself 
out deliberately. Voluntary holy alienation. You can't serve 
God and Caesar. You just can't. 

That's why the wizards who have guided and inspired human 
destiny by means of revelatory vision have always been socially 
suspect. Always outside the law. Holy outlaws. Reckless, cour- 
ageous outlaws. Folklore has it that 43 federal agents were 
assigned to His case before He was arrested on the day before 
Christmas, 1967. They have to stop this wild man with jingling 
bells or He'll turn on the whole world. His Christmas acid 
could have stopped the war. 

Messianic certainty. A.O.S.3 is the most moralistic person I 
have ever met. Everything is labeled good or bad. Every human 
activity is either right or wrong. He is, in short, a nagging, 
preaching, intolerable puritan. Right to Him is what is natural, 
healthy, harmonious. Right gets you high. Wrong brings you 

Meat is good. Man is a carnivorous animal, but eat your meat 

Vegetables are bad. They are for smoking, not eating. God 
(or the DNA code) designed ruminants and cud chewers to eat 
leaves. And man to eat their flesh. 

Psychedelic drugs are good. 

Alcohol is bad. Unhealthy, dulling, damaging to the brain. A 
*'down" trip. He explains this in ominous chemical warnings. I 
always feel guilty drinking a beer in front of him. 

Showers are good. Clean. 

Baths are bad. You soak in your own dirt, and your soft pores 
sponge up foul debris, in a lukewarm liquid, an ideal nutrient 
for germs. 

Rock *n' roll is good. 

Science fiction is bad. Screws up your head. Takes you on 
weird trips. 

Long hair is good. Sign of a free man. 

Short hair is bad. Mark of a prisoner, a cop, or a wage slave. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 288 

Smoking is bad. 

Marijuana is good. 

Sex is good. 

Sexual abstinance is insane. 

He is now sitting against the wall, talking quietly. The red 
glow flickers on His round glasses. He is a mad saint. 

At the higher levels of energy, beyond even the electronic, 
there is no form. Form is pure energy limiting itself. Form is 

On one trip they (I'll refer to "they" for lack of a better 
term) , the higher intelligence, beckoned me to leave the living 
form and to merge with the eternal formless which is all form, 
and I was tempted. Eternal ecstasy. But I declined regretfully. I 
wanted to stay in this form for a while longer. 


Oh, to make love. Balling is such a friendly, tender, human 
thing to do. 

How about eating? 

Oh, yes, that's tender, too. 

Okay. Let's go to a restaurant. 

Owsley is a highly conscious man. He is aware at all times of 
who he is and what's what. Aware of his mythic role. Aware of 
his past incarnations. Aware of his animal heritage which he 
wears, preeningly and naturally, like a pure forest creature. His 
sense of smell. Owsley carefully selects and blends perfumes for 
himself and his friends. Your nose always recognizes Owsley. 
Oh, some sandalwood, a dash of musk, a touch of lotus, a taste 
of civet. 

/ talked to Him once on the phone after a session. He was in 
His customary state of intense excitement. ^'Listen, man, I saw 
clearly my mystic Karmic assignment. I am Merlin. I'm a mis- 
chievous alchemist. A playful redeemer. My essence name is 

Like any successful wizard, A.O.S.3 is a good scientist. Radar- 
sensitive in His observations. Exacting, meticulous, pedantic 
about His procedures. He has grandiose delusions about the 
quality of His acid. "Listen, man, LSD is a delicate, fragile 
molecule. It responds to the vibrations of the chemist." 

God's Secret Agent A.0.S.3 [ 289 

He judges acid and other psychedelics with the fussy, patron- 
izing skill of a Bordeaux wine taster. He is less than kind to 
upstart rival alchemists. But no jeweler, goldsmith, painter, 
sculptor, was ever more scrupulous about aesthetic perfection 
than A.O.S.3. 

And like any good journeyman-messiah. His sociological and 
political perceptions are arrow straight. As do all turned-on 
persons, A.O.S.3 agonizes over the pollution of the living 
fabric. He, as well as anyone, sees the mechanization. The 

Metal is good. It performs its own technical function. Metal 
has individuality, soul. 

Plastics are evil. Plastic copies the form of plant, mineral, 
metal, flesh but has no soul. 

Owsley's life is a fierce protest against the sickness of our 
times which inverts man and nature into frozen, brittle plastic. 
Only a turned-on chemist can appreciate the horror, the ulti- 
mate blasphemous horror of plastic. 

Owsley is unique. He is himself. His life is a creative struggle 
for individuality. He longs for a social group, a linkage of minds 
modeled after the harmonious collaboration of cells and organs 
of the body. He wants to be the brains of a social love body. The 
ancient Utopian hunger. Only a turned-on chemist can appreci- 
ate God's protein plan for society. 

A.O.S.3 is that rare species, a realized, living, breathing, 
smelling, balling, laughing, working, scolding man. A ridicu- 
lous, conceited fool, God's fool, dreaming of ways to make us all 
happy, to turn us all on, to love us and be loved. 



M.I.T. Is T.I.M. Spelled Backward* 

It was a beautiful autumn Saturday, with the leaves at their 
psychedelic best, as we drove up to the large mansion which Dr. 
Leary and his 30 religious cohorts call home. We arrived as a 
house meeting was breaking up. 

Dr. Leary was in his normal dress {white shirt, white slacks 
and red socks) and was quite warm and receptive. A half-hour 
delay before the interview gave us time to take in his home and 
meet some of the workers, who were preparing for the up- 
coming Tuesday celebration at New York's Village Theater. 

The house was beautifully well kept, with a minimum of 
traditional furniture and a pleasant abundance of creative art- 
work all around. The faded tapestries of a fiower-type design 
that had covered the walls for decades were attractively reno- 
vated with bright paint in many colors. Even the pay phone in 
the stairwell was painted in weird green swirls. On the wall 
next to the door on the way out was an appropriate sign saying, 
"Those who don't know talk, and those who know don't talk." 

The house was alive with small children, whose presence 
added all the more vitality to the place. The older workers, 
most of them our age, seemed generally affable, good-humored 
and well-educated, and certainly dedicated to their artistic and 
religious endeavors. 

After a pleasant buffet of apple cider and nonpsychedelic 
mushrooms over rice with salad. Dr. Leary came down and in- 

* An interview conducted by Jean Smith and Cynthia White for Innisfree, the 
MIT monthly journal of inquiry, published by Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology students. 

[ 290 


The Great Debate 

Kresg* Auditorium, M.I.T. 

Moy 3, 1967 

^oL fff W^ i 

The Leary-Littwin LSD debate was transcribed in the 
M.LT. journal Innisfree (1967). 

T/M LEARY'5 fURN ON/ TUNE IN/DROP OUT 1st installment Page 5 

VOL.1 Na 12 t.~T^t~v*,o*.,- MAY15-JUNE1 

^uc ouisiue nyc i^v 


*Tum On/ Tune In/ Drop Out") Front page of 
The East Village Other (May 15- June 1, 1966). 

M.I.T. Is T.I.M. Spelled Backward [ 291 

vited us into his office. The half-hour downstairs had broadened 
our perspectives, but the greatest broadening was yet to come. 

Innisfree: Dr. Leary, one of your comments in your Playboy 
interview was that if you take LSD in a nuthouse, you will have 
a nuthouse experience. The modern student seems to be in a rat 
race and may not feel he can spare more than a day, say a 
Saturday, for a "trip." If a student were to take LSD in this rat 
race environment, would he have a rat race experience? 

Leary: Well, you're asking for a wild generalization. No one 
should take LSD unless he's well prepared, unless he knows 
what he's getting into, unless he's ready to go out of his mind; 
and his session should be in a place which will facilitate a posi- 
tive, serene reaction, and with someone whom he trusts emo- 
tionally and spiritually. 

Innisfree: When you were experimenting at Harvard, did 
you find that students were less prepared to go out of their 

Leary: Well, I never gave drugs to any student at Harvard, 
contrary to rumor. We did give psychedelic drugs to many 
graduate students, young professors, and researchers at Harvard. 
These people were very well trained and prepared for the ex- 
perience. They were doing it for a serious purpose, that is, to 
learn more about consciousness, the game of mastering this 
technique for their own personal life and for their professional 

Innisfree: Did you ever publish any of your findings from 
your Harvard stay? 

Leary: Yes, we have published over 35 scholarly and scien- 
tific articles. Many of these were based on our Harvard studies: 
statistical studies, questionnaire studies, descriptions of our re- 
habilitation work with prisoners, experimental work in produc- 
ing visionary and mystical experiences, and so forth. 

Innisfree: One of the greatest areas of controversy in regard 
to LSD is that many people fear. Professor Teuber at MIT for 
one, that from taking LSD you might have recurrences of the 
psychosis without further ingestion of the drug. Would you like 
to comment on this? 

Leary: Number one, I can't agree with the word psychosis. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 292 

The aim of taking LSD is to develop yourself spiritually and to 
open up greater sensitivity. Therefore the aim should be to 
continue after the session the exciting process you have begun. 
We're delighted when people tell us that after their LSD ses- 
sions they can recapture some of the illumination and the 
meaning and the beauty. Psychiatrists think they are creating 
psychoses; therefore, they would be alarmed at having the ex- 
perience persist. We know that we are producing religious ex- 
periences, and we and our subjects aim to have those experi- 
ences endure. And if Professor Teuber's worried about the fact 
that nobody knows exactly what LSD does, and I share that 
worry, we must realize that scientifically we are not sure of what 
thousands of energies which we ingest or surround ourselves by 
are doing: gas fumes, DDT, penicillin, tranquilizers. Nobody 
knows how these work, what effects they'll have not only on the 
individual but also on the genetic structure of the species. 
There are risks involved whenever you take LSD. Nobody 
should take LSD unless he know's he's going into the unknown. 
He's laying his blue chips on the line. He's tampering with that 
most delicate and sacred of all instruments, the human brain. 
You should know that. But you know that you're taking a risk 
every time you breathe the air, every time you eat the food that 
the supermarkets are putting out, every time you fall in love for 
that matter. 

Life is a series of risks. We insist only that the person who 
goes into it knows that it's a risk, knows what's involved, and we 
insist also that we have the right to take that risk. No paternal- 
istic society and no paternalistic profession like medicine has 
the right to prevent us from taking that risk. If you listen to 
neurologists and psychiatrists, you'd never fall in love. 

Innisfree: A friend of ours told us that he had recurring 
hallucinations at a time when he really didn't want them and 
didn't expect them. Are these uncontrollable replays common? 

Leary: I think that everyone who takes LSD is permanently 
changing his consciousness. That is, there are going to be recur- 
rent memories and recurrent reactions when you hear the same 
music, when you're with the same people, when you walk into 

M.I.T. Is T.I.M. Spelled Backward [ 293 

the same room. Any stimulation may set off a memory. Now a 
memory is a live, chemical-molecular event in your nervous 
system. When you take LSD, you're changing that system to a 
small degree. Now most people are delighted when this happens. 

In any thousand people, or perhaps hundred, there's a profes- 
sional full-time worrier. Now when this person takes LSD, he's 
going to wonder if he's going crazy, he's going to worry that he's 
insane, he's going to worry about brain damage, he's going to 
worry about controlling it. Worriers, of course, are people who 
want to have everything under control. And life is not under 
control. Life is a spontaneous, undisciplined, unsupervised 
event. Your worrying person is going to lay his worrying ma- 
chinery on LSD. 

Innisfree: You mentioned religion a few minutes ago. Pro- 
fessor Huston Smith of MIT has suggested that the drug-induced 
religious experience may not be a truly genuine one. 

Leary: You're now sitting in a religious center. About 30 
people are devoting their lives and energies to a full-time 
pursuit of the Divinity through the sacrament of LSD. You're 
calling our sacramental experience psychotic. LSD, the psy- 
chedelic experience, is a religious experience. It can be if the 
person is looking for it, and can be if the person is not looking 
for it and doesn't want it. Professor Smith has on several occa- 
sions stated his belief that the drug-induced experience is a re- 
ligious experience. He has questions, as I understand it, about 
how this can be used and how well we are applying our reli- 
gious experiences, but he does not doubt that they are religious 
experiences. Now the religious experience is beyond any creed 
or ritual, any myth or metaphor. People use different interpre- 
tations, different metaphors to describe their religious experi- 
ence. A Christian person will take LSD and report it in terms of 
the Christian vocabulary. Buddhists will do likewise. 

Innisfree: Is it true that you yourself are Hindu? 

Leary: Our religious philosophy, or our philosophy about 
the spiritual meaning of LSD, comes closer to Hinduism than to 
any other. Hinduism again, it is difficult to define Hinduism- 
recognizes the divinity of all manifestations of life, physical. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 294 

physiological, chemical, biological, and so forth. So that the 
Hindu point of view allows for a wide scope of subsects. To a 
Hindu, Catholicism is a form of Hinduism. 

Innisfree: Your descriptions of the psychedelic experience 
sound very much like Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha. How much 
have you been influenced by his writings? 

Leary: We've been influenced very much by Hermann Hesse's 
writings. Of course, once you finally get into the field of con- 
sciousness, in the philosophic and literary interpretations of the 
consciousness, then everyone agrees. Everyone is in basic agree- 
ment about the necessity of going out of your mind, going 
within, and about what you find once you get there. The 
metaphors change from culture to culture. The terminology is 
different. But every great mystic and every great missionary 
reports essentially the same thing: the eternal flow, timeless 
series of evolutions, and so forth, and Hermann Hesse is one of 
the great visionary spokesmen of the twentieth century. We 
made it very explicit in our first psychedelic celebration in New 
York that we were addressing ourselves to the intellectual who 
is entrapped in his mind, and we were using as our bible for 
that first celebration Steppenwolf, by Hermann Hesse. The 
next psychedelic celebration was based on the life of Christ, and 
we used the Catholic missal as the manual for that. But each one 
of these great myths is based on a psychedelic experience, a 
death-rebirth sequence. 

Innisfree: Is each of these sessions supposed to appeal to a 
different kind of person? 

Leary: Each celebration will take up one of the greatest 
religious traditions. And we attempt to turn on everyone to that 
religion. And we hope that anyone that comes to all of our 
celebrations will discover the deep meaning that exists in each 
of these. But in addition to that, we hope that the Christian will 
be particularly turned on by our Catholic LSD mass, because it 
will renew for him the metaphor which for most of us has 
become rather routine and tired. 

Innisfree: Where did you get for your foundation the name 

M.I.T. Is T.I.M. Spelled Backward [ 295 

Leary: Castalia was taken from Hermann Hesse's novel 
Magister Ludi. The Castalia brotherhood in that novel was one 
of scientist-scholars who were attempting to bring together vi- 
sionary mysticism and modem science and scholarship. They 
would also meditate and use the techniques of the East in order 
to bring together the bead game itself, a means of weaving to- 
gether poetry, music, mathematics, science, and unifying them. 
We attempt to do the same. Our psychedelic celebrations and 
the lectures that Dr. Metzner and I have been giving in the last 
two years are very much like the bead game. We attempt to 
weave together modern techniques like electronics and modern 
scientific theories, pharmacology and biogenetics, with many 
different forms of Eastern psychology. It's very clearly a bead 
game that we are weaving in these celebrations. The aim is to 
turn on not just the mind, but to turn on the sense organs, and 
even to talk to people's cells and ancient centers of wisdom. 

Innisfree: Yet, a lot of your beliefs do borrow from other 
cultures. Wouldn't exposure to these other ways of thinking 
make your religion more meaningful? 

Leary: Well, I was born in the twentieth century. I can't 
wipe out my whole personal background or change the fact that 
almost everyone I talk to today is brain-damaged by our educa- 
tion. We're all crippled. We have to accept the fact that in 
primary school we fell into the hands of addictive drug pushers, 
namely teachers. They've crippled us. That's part of karma. 

Every historical era has its own particular trap which drives 
man away from his divinity and puts him on the outside, and 
every historical era has its own sacrament, or its own method, of 
dealing with it. The DNA code is an impressively resilient and 
impressive blueprinting process. It always produces the protein 
molecules that are necessary to adapt to the particular evolu- 
tionary bind it has actually trapped itself in. Evolution is a 
series of accidental surprises. 

The genetic code is infinite in its variation and wisdom, and 
always comes out with the right answer; and exactly the right 
answer for the particular neurological disease that man has been 
plagued by for the last 1,000 years is LSD. You see, 3,000 or 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 296 

4,000 years ago, LSD wouldn't have been necessary. Man was in 
touch. He was harmoniously dancing along with the change in 
the planets, the change in the seasons. He was in touch, he was 
in tune, he was turned on. LSD existed in natural form. LSD 
has been in morning glory seeds for hundreds of thousands of 
years. But until now it hasn't been necessary to use because you 
wouldn't have had to have the effect. 

Innisfree: You don't feel that the LSD culture is compatible 
with American culture now, then? 

Leary: I don't think the American culture is compatible 
with anything. Certainly not with anything that's been going on 
in this planet since the origin of life. The American culture is 
an insane asylum. You take for granted such things as race 
prejudice, the Protestant work culture, the professional bu- 
reaucracy which exists in this country, the complete loss of 
euphoria which has developed in the past fifty years. Dropping 
bombs on natives of Vietnam well, that's just like a head cold. 
I mean, that's the way it's supposed to be. It's the current symp 
tom of our insanity. 

LSD and the LSD cult is perfectly in tune with the wisdom of 
the Buddha or the great philosophies of the past. The Buddha 
could walk up this road to our house here at Millbrook, and 
he'd see the signs of his profession because we belong to the 
same profession, people who are changing consciousness, who 
are pursuing the eternal quest. He would walk in this house and 
he'd be much more at home here than he would be in hardly 
any house in the United States because we're in touch with him. 
We're in touch with the basic cellular and sensory and physical 
aspects of man. 

There are three processes involved that every spiritual 
teacher has passed onto mankind for the past thousand years. 
Look within, have the revelation, and then express it in acts of 
glorification on the outside and detach yourself from the cur- 
rent tribe. We use the six-word motto "Turn on, tune in, drop 
out." Now after you turn on, you don't spend the rest of your 
life in an LSD state, just contemplating the inner wonders. You 
begin immediately expressing your revelation in acts of beauty 

M.I.T. Is T.I.M. Spelled Backward [ 297 

without. That's what we're doing in the Village Theater in 
New York. Every Tuesday night, people come there and we 
stone them out of their minds. 

Innisfree: What about LSD? 

Leary: Well, it's always biochemical. In order to do anything 
new, you have to change your nervous system biochemically. 
Now you can do it through breathing, fasting, flagellation, 
dancing, solitude, diet. You can do it through any sense organ- 
visual, auditory, and so forth. There are hundreds of ways of 
turning on. But at the present time, man is so sick that there are 
very few people who can use these ancient methods, so that 
today it is safe to say that drugs are the specific, and almost the 
only, way that the American is ever going to have a religious 

And our Tuesday night celebrations do not take the place of 
the sacrament. The sacramental process in our religion is the 
use of marijuana and LSD; and nothing can substitute for that. 
There's a way of training people, and a way of teaching people, 
and a way of demonstrating to people what the psychedelic 
does. We have these public celebrations. 

Innisfree: You don't seem, then, to be advocating the use of 
LSD for simple "kicks." 

Leary: I don't know what you mean by "kicks." We feel 
about LSD the way a Catholic priest feels about his host. He 
doesn't want to have his host sold in vending machines. He 
doesn't want to have his sacred host in the hands of doctors to 
decide who's going to use it. He wants his host to be given by 
trained priests or guides in the temple. We feel exactly the same 
about LSD. Now, the Catholic host should indeed give you a 
kick. LSD will give you a kick. The kick to me means an ecstatic 
revelation. I don't know what a kick means to you. To you a 
kick may mean going to a cocktail party in Cambridge and 
flirting with some girl. A kick to me means flirtation con- 
frontation with God. Of course, in our puritan society, the 
word kick is a negative term. We're such robots that we think 
the only thing we should do in life is work, get power, and use 
this power to control other people. In any sane society, the word 

The Politics of Ecstasy [298 

kick could be the ideal. Kick is the ecstacy; it means going 
beyond, confronting God, getting out of your mind. 

Innisfree: What would LSD achieve, though, that conscien- 
tious Hindu-like meditation if we were capable of it could 
not achieve? 

Leary: If meditation works, it will get you the same place 
that LSD will. But only one person in a hundred thousand can 
do it through meditation. 

Innisfree: Even to what you call the precellular level of 

Leary: Well, certainly the Buddha, and certainly the writ- 
ings of the Hindu philosophers the Shiva myths were written 
by men who had reached the cellular level. The theory of rein- 
carnation in Hinduism is a perfect metaphorical and poetic 
statement of the DNA code. 

Innisfree: What of the actual biochemical changes that are 
behind the psychedelic experience? 

Leary: Neurologists do not understand the biochemistry of 
consciousness. They don't know where consciousness is located. 
Therefore, the answer to the question of, "What does LSD do?" 
has to await a breakthrough in neurology. And that break- 
through in neurology will come when neurologists realize that 
they have to change their own consciousness. They're not going 
to find out where consciousness is located by putting electrodes 
in the brains of animals or giving LSD to animals for that 
matter. The breakthrough in neurology is going to come when 
the scientist puts his eye to the microscope; and the microscope 
of consciousness is your own nervous system. We have trained 
hundreds of young graduate students, who are now young psy- 
chiatrists and young neurologists, and this next generation of 
turned-on scientists will produce the great breakthrough in 
neurology, because they are taking the drug themselves. 

Innisfree: Do you think that the two sciences can coexist side 
by side? 

Leary: There's a perfect dialogue that goes on between outer 
and inner. It doesn't do any good to expand your consciousness 
unless you can accurately express this in some metaphorical or 

M.I.T. Is T.I.M. Spelled Backward [ 299 

symbolic form. Now the problem at the present time is that our 
society and our intellectuals and our scientists completely ex- 
ternalize the psychology of behaviorism. Neurology today is 
poking at the brains of other people. We're overbalanced this 
way today. As soon as psychiatrists start taking LSD or more 
powerful drugs that come along, they will be tuning in on an 
energy process that will then help them write better equations. 
You have to experience what you are symbolizing. And when a 
symbol system gets beyond the experience, then it becomes just 
a chess game. 

When Einstein first worked out that equation E^MC^, it was 
a very powerful, psychedelic thing. Literally he had to fall down 
on his knees at that moment when he realized that all matter 
was energy just in temporary states of change, that there was no 
structure. Of course, the Hindu philosophers had pointed that 
out for a thousand years. But I suspect that very few physicists 
experience what they are symbolizing. 

You see, that's the problem. I think that 99 percent of the 
people who call themselves scientists, including 99 percent of 
the people at your institution, are not really scientists. There 
are never more than a hundred people who deserve the term 
scientist in any age. The rest of them are just engineers who are 
simply playing out one little aspect of a metaphor, of a visionary 
experience, that someone had in the past. 

Innisfree: How do you determine whether a person will 
become psychotic under LSD? Is there any way to tell who had 
best not participate in this religion? Because surely not every- 
one can. 

Leary: Who's to decide? I would say that at present our 
society is so insane, that even if the risks were fifty-fifty that if 
you took LSD you would be permanently insane, I still think 
that the risk is worth taking, as long as the person knows that 
that's the risk. 

There is a complete breakdown in assumption here. You're 
operating from a psychiatric metaphor, and I'm operating from 
a religious metaphor. I say that the confrontation with divinity 
is going to change you, and there are some people who are in 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 300 

such a state of sin that they don't want to confront divinity; 
they freak out. Such people should be warned that if you come 
into this temple you're going to face blazing illumination of the 
divinity. It's going to change you completely; you're never 
going to be the same. Do you want to do it? That's what they 
said in the Eleusinian Mysteries. They would always warn 
people, *'If you go in here, you will die. You and all of your past 
hang-ups, sins and so forth are going to be laid out in front of 
you. You're going to have to confront them, strip them off and 
be a changed person. Do you want to do it?" One of the em- 
perors of Rome I forget which onecame and wanted to be 
initiated in the Eleusinian Mysteries, and they took him in and 
said, "This is what's going to happen," and he said, "That's 
interesting. I approve of what you're doing, but I don't want 
your experience. I don't want to be changed." As long as the 
person knows what's involved, whatever he does to his own con- 
sciousness is his own business. And the fears of LSD in this 
society existed before the present psychiatric rumors of brain 
damage. Everyone is afraid to take LSD, because nobody wants 
to change. Everyone wants to keep his own little egocentric 
chess game going. The fear of LSD is the same fear that has led 
to the persecution of people doing the same thing I've been 
doing in other centuries and other tribes. It's the ancient game 
of the law. Three hundred years ago you'd be sitting here talk- 
ing with me about the devil. In Salem, very close to where you 
go to college, they were talking about witches. The fear then 
was in terms of witches. The fear of those who are anti-God 
which is what you are the fear is always expressed in the 
metaphor of the time: witches, possessions, devils, and so forth. 

Innisfree: You have no fear of LSD? 

Leary: I didn't say that, nor would I. There's everything to 
fear. You're going to lose your mind. 

Innisfree: Isn't there the fear of taking too much? 

Leary: There is no lethal dose known of LSD. LSD is a 
trigger mechanism, like a key. So, ten times the normal dose of 
LSD is like ten keys for one lock. When you get over three 
hundred gammas of LSD, you can go up to thirty thousand 

M.I.T. Is T.I.M. Spelled Backward [ 301 

gammas the largest dose I know of and the impact is a little 
greater: the door swings open a little faster. But it's the same 
effect. You see, what you're confronting is your own two-billion- 
year-old equipment of sense organs, cellular wisdom, protein 
memories. They're the same. Our culture is so hung on the 
external, playing the numbers game, that 1,000 gammas must 
be twice as strong as 500 gammas. 

Innisfree: If you cannot get back to the state where you can 
contemplate on what you have just experienced, wouldn't you 
consider that bad? 

Leary: The problem with LSD is not enduring change. The 
problem is that it doesn't last long enough. You see, if LSD 
really worked the way these fear merchants say it does, it would 
be easy to use it to change personality. If it changes the normal 
person and gives him hallucinations afterward, you should be 
able to take the criminal and the alcoholic, the drug addict, and 
the generally mean person and change him under guidance. 
The processes of neurological imprinting and the way we build 
up our conditioned mental processes is highly resistant to 
change. If you take LSD, you still come back speaking the Eng- 
lish language and knowing how to tie your shoe lace. The prob- 
lem with LSD is that much too quickly do you slip back into the 
routine ways of thinking. That's why, if you take LSD, you 
should take it many, many times, and you should plan to slowly 
change your environment so that your external commitments 
are keeping up to your internal achievements. It's very hard 
work to change the human psychology, even with LSD. That 
should give comfort to the frightened, and probably anguish to 
the optimistic like myself. Human nature is so resistant to 

Innisfree: Do you think you are being harassed for your 
unorthodox beliefs? 

Leary: I don't use the term harassment, and I have no 
paranoid theories about conspiracy. The game I am involved in 
is set out with exquisite precision. What I am doing has been 
done by people in every generation in the past. It's like the 
Harvard- Yale game. It's played out every year. Now, Harvard 

The Politics of Ecstasy [302 

isn't harassing Yale. The game between those who know that 
man can change and become divine in this lifetime and want to 
teach people how to do it completely threatens the establish- 
ment. In every generation you say, "No, it's all been done and 
settled, and just get your good lawyer-priest and do what we tell 
you to do." And this dialogue between the establishment and 
the Utopian visionaries will inevitably exist in every historical 

It's played fairly. The fact that they want to hound me out of 
existence is right. They should, just like the Harvard defensive 
team wants to throw the offensive's quarterback for a loss. I 
have no complaint about this; I'm perfectly good-humored 
about it. The more energy that is directed against me, the more 
energy that is available for me. It's the perfect physical law of 
jujitsu the more government and professional establishment 
dynamism that is set off against what we're doing is just a sign to 
us that we're doing fine. 

Innisfree: What are the existing restrictions on LSD by the 
federal government? 

Leary: The federal law does not forbid the possession and 
personal use of LSD. It prohibits the manufacture and sale of 
LSD or the administering of it to someone. There are some 
states four or five, of which New York State is one which out- 
law the possession of LSD. 

Innisfree: In your Playboy interview you gave the exact 
number of LSD sessions you had taken. You record each session? 

Leary: Yes, I keep careful record of each session, where, and 
what was the purpose of the session. 

Innisfree: And do you write down a description of the ex- 
perience or thoughts that came to you? 

Leary: Yes, most of the time. Not always. 

Innisfree: What do you consider more valuable, the actual 
trip or the contemplation of it afterward? 

Leary: It goes together. One without the other is rather 
meaningless. But again, you ask if I write it down. It's more 
important what you do afterward; after a session we may go out 
and plant a new garden, after a session we may change a room 

M.I.T. Is T.I.M. Spelled Backward [ 30S 

in the house, after a session we may throw out the television set, 
after the session I may spend the next five hours talking quietly 
with my son. The intellectual is so hung up on the disease of 
words that nothing exists unless he writes it down. The human 
being has been involved in this adventure for thousands of years 
before the printing press. As my friend Marshall McLuhan so 
eloquently pointed out you see, whatever I say today about 
words is just what Marshall McLuhan said in his book. The 
Gutenberg Galaxie the misuse of the printing press is one of 
the greatest catastrophes to happen to the human nervous 
system. It has forced man to think in the linear subject-predi- 
cate fashion, which is what Marshall McLuhan and I are at- 
tempting to do something about, and which modern technical 
advances, like electronics, and psychochemicals such as LSD, 
will inevitably change. 



The Buddha as Drop-Ouf 

The message of the Buddha, Gautama, is the familiar, ancient 
always to-be-rediscovered divine instruction: 

Drop out 

Turn on 

Tune in 

The avatar, the divine one, is he who discovers and lives out 
this rhythm during his earthly trip. 

The life of the Buddha, Gautama, is simply another case il- 
lustration in the venerable library of tissue manuals on "How 
to Discover Your Own Buddha-hood." 

Gautama Sakyamuni was born a prince. His father, the king, 
and his mother, the queen, were determined that he should 
carry on the family business and not discover his divinity. Ac- 
cording to familiar parental tradition, they attempted to protect 
their son from confronting the four basic dimensions of the 
human time span: sickness, age, death, and the existence of 

* This article was written in response to a request from Horizon magazine, 
which in the summer of 1967 was planning an issue on the hippies. 

The article was penciled hastily and typed by the author's daughter, who 
at the time was involved in a mystical removal from all human games except 
the mastery of touch typing. 

Horizon sent a check for $400 along, with a note of puzzling jocularity about 
my "frankness" and "honesty." It was only after the issue was published (with- 
out "The Buddha as Drop-Out") and after reading the introduction to the 
issue that it became clear that the editors of lost Horizon had mirthlessly 
missed the point of the article. They saw it as confessional rather than satirical. 
They wanted no part in the strategy to persuade their readers to become 

They have a point, Buddhas don't subscribe. They inscribe. 

[ 304 

The Buddha as Drop-Out [ 305 

eccentric, barefoot holy men alchemists who could show him 
how to solve the time riddle by- 
Dropping out 

Turning on 

Tuning in 

The truth of the matter is that the Buddha was bom and 
brought up in Westchester County, educated at an Ivy League 
college and groomed for that pinnacle of princely success which 
would allow him in 1967 to subscribe to Horizon, a magazine 
particularly unlikely to confront him with the prospect of his 
own divinity. 

First Gautama dropped out. Horrors! Did he really desert his 
wife and child? Run out on the palace mortgage payment? 
j Welsh on his commitments to his 10,000 concubines? Leave the 
Internal Revenue Service holding the bag for the Vietnam War 
bill? Maybe he just moved with his wife and kids to Big Sur, not 
even leaving a forwarding address for fourth-class mail. Lost 
Horizon. Or maybe the drop-out was internal (where it always 
has to be) . Maybe he just detached himself invisibly from the 
old fears and ambitions. 

After his drop-out he struggled to turn on. It's never easy, 
you know, to turn on. He memorized the Vedas. Read the 
Upanishads and the Village Voice and Alan Watts and Krish- 
namurti. Studied at the feet of gurus. Got the message. "Sorry, 
young man. We can't teach it. Divinity is a do-it-yourself propo- 
sition, located somewhere inside your own body." 

So he spent several years practicing lonely austerities. Diet 
and physical yoga. Gave up smoking. Ate macrobiotic rice. Got 
thin. Let his beard grow. Looked holy but felt wholly terrible. 

One day, as he was sitting under a tree, a dairy maid offered 
him a bowl of milk and honey, maybe laced with mushroom 
juice. It was a forbidden, dangerous potion, against all the laws 
of yoga abstinence. 

Then he started his trip. Session delights. The marijuana 
miracle! Vision! Touch! Smell! Sound! Beautiful! Ecstasy!!! 
But don't get caught, Buddha! All the manuals warn you! 
Center your mind! Float to the beginning! 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 306 

Next came the sexual visions. Mara the devil sent his naked 
daughters to entrance. The devil, you say? Oh, didn't they tell 
you in Bronxville Sunday School and the comparative religions 
seminar at Princeton that the devil is part of your own mind 
that wants you to cop out and sell short your timeless divinity? 
You're a junior executive now with the narcotic security needle 
hooked in your liberal Republican vein, and the secretaries at 
the office think you're cute Mr. Horizon-reading Buddha. But 
remember the teachings! Enjoy but don't chase the erotic fanta- 
sies. Center! 

Then came the terrors. You'll go insane! You'll lose your 
ambition! Brain damage! Permanent psychosis! Bellevue Hos- 
pital! Chromosome destruction! Jump out a palace window I 
Who are you, anyway? Spoiled prince, arrogant Brooks Brothers 
Faust, to grab with greedy hands the delicate web of God? 
You're crazy now and will never get back. Help! Paranoia! Call 
the court physician! Call a psychiatrist! 

But Gautama remembered the prayer. He centered his mind 
and body. He spun through the thousand past reincarnations. 
Tumbled down his DNA code and died, merging in the center 
of the solar, lunar, diamond, peacock eye of fire that men call 
God. Illumination. 

From whence he looked back up and saw the fibrous unfold- 
ing of life to come, all past, all future, hooked up, the riddle of 
time and mortality solved by the unitive, turn-on perspective. 

And at that moment of highest Samhadi, Gautama opened his 
eyes in delight and wonder at the paradise rediscovered by his 
trip, and looked around and said that great line "Wonder of 
all wonders, all men are the Buddha." 

He had dropped out and turned on. He had made it to the 
navel-centered beginning. Realized the Buddha-nature of all 
creatures. And then what? The crossroads in the heroic-mythic- 
God trip. Why come down? Once you've seen it all, experienced 
the divine flash, why return to the frayed uniform and clumsy 
tools of your earthly games? How can you come down to play 
out a role in the silly TV drama of American society? How can 
you come down from the Buddha game? The wholly-man role? 

The Buddha as Drop-Out [ 307 

I read the blues today, oh, boy, about a lucky man who great the 

Tradition has it that Gautama Buddha after his illumination 
sat for days under the bo tree, wondering whether he should 
come back to deal with the pompous Brahmin priesthood and 
his kindly but myopic parents, the aging king and queen, and 
the FDA at Benares and the crowd back at the office and the 
shallow hit-and-run celestial aspirations of his followers. Or 
even to write articles for the well-meaning editors of very slick 
magazines. Why bother? 

Gautama's question is exactly that anguishing dilemma faced 
by several million young Americans who have taken the psy- 
chedelic trip in the last 5 years. Because, when seen sub specie 
aeternitatis, American society really does appear quite destruc- 
tive and insane. What can LBJ or Billy Graham offer a dropped- 
out, turned-on, ill-prepared, confused teen-ager visionary? 

Why not stay dropped out? 

Perhaps the wisest of our times are the total drop-outs those 
eccentrics who look around and fold their hands and quit. The 
quietly but shrewdly mad who crowd our mental hospitals. The 
drifting, smiling, welfare checksters. 

But the message of the Buddha is to tune in. Glorify! Tune 
back in, not to the old game. You have to stay dropped out of 
that. You drop back in to life. You come back down and express 
your revelation in acts of glory and beauty and humor. Help 
someone else drop out and turn on. 

The Buddha dropped back in with his four noble truths: 

All life is suffering. 

The suffering is caused by striving. 

You can end the suffering by dropping out of the chase. 

The dropping out involves an eightfold discipline, hard 
work, continual attention, constant centering of consciousness. 

The term "drop-out" is, of course, deliberately distorted by 
Brahmins, bureaucrats, moralists, politicians and external 
power holders. They know that their control will fall apart if 
people drop out and turn on. The brahminical federal strategy 

Paraphrased from a classic Buddhist text published by the Beatles. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 308 

has always been the same. Convince the people that the TV 
show emanating from Benares, Athens, Rome, London, Saigon, 
Washington is reality and that the ecstasy is an escape into 
psychosis and irresponsibility. 

The fact of the matter, as Gautama's career makes very clear, 
is that dropping out is the demanding, arduous road. The 
lonely, scary confrontation with the evolutionary reality. The 
narcotic escape is to remain in the system. Be a good king, 
young Buddha. Raise taxes. Encourage trade. Fight wars to 
protect your people against the enemy. Be good. Join the Chris- 
tian meddling, missionary society of your time. Of necessity, be 
a good rebel and protest, picket, lobby, for the political power 
of the "outs." The oldest cop-out of history. Nice rebel! 

The message of the Gautama Sakyamuni is drop out and turn 
on. You can't do good until you feel good. You can't free others 
until you are free. 

Gautama, the Nepalese drop-out, is the greatest spiritual 
master of recorded history. His message is bleak and direct. 
Each man is Buddha. The aim of human life is to discover your 
Buddha-hood. You must do this yourself. You can't rely on any 
of the divine avatars of the past. Jesus is dead. Krishna is dead. 
Lao-tse is gone. You must retrace the ancient path yourself. 
Discover your own Christ-hood. Stagger down from the moun- 
tain, flipped-out Moses, with your own moral code fashioned in 
the ecstatic despair of your own revelation. The only help you 
have is the teaching. Fashion a prayer and keep your sense of 
humor. Use the guidebooks and manuals left by the inspired 
drop-outs of the past. The Buddha himself spent forty years 
teaching the most accurate and detailed psychological system 
the world has ever known. This was his tuning-back-in exercise. 
Use it and go beyond it. 

But the old texts mainly tell you what not to do. The timing, 
the direction, the style, the rhythm, the ritual of your search is 
for you to evolve. But this much is known. It's all right. It's all 
worked out. It's all on autopilot. Remember the Buddha mes- 
sage. Turn on, tune in, drop out. 

Remember the Buddha smile. 

The Buddha as Drop-Out 

Dear Horizon reader, put your finger on this 

[ 309 

remember, and smile. 



Homage to Huxley 

November 22, 1963, was for Aldous Huxley the time to go. 

In paying tribute (a curious word) to a departed luminary, it 
is customary to appraise his contribution, to wrap up the mean- 
ing and message of the hero and to place it with a flourish in the 
inactive file. 

This ceremonial function is notoriously risky in the case of 
writers. The literary game has its own stock-exchange quota- 
tions in which hardcover commodities rise and fall to the irra- 
tional dictates of scholarly fashion. 

To predict the place that Aldous Huxley will have as a liter- 
ary figure is a gambling venture we shall leave to the profes- 
sionals who are paid to do it. They might note that he did not 
win a Nobel Prize a good sign, suggesting that he made the 
right enemies and was properly unacceptable to the academic 
politicians. They will note also that he was a visionary always a 
troublesome issue to the predictor. Since all visionaries say the 
same thing, they are perennial commodities, difficult to sell 
short, annoyingly capable of turning up fresh and alive a thou- 
sand years later. 

But Aldous Huxley is not just a literary figure, and for that 
matter not just a visionary writer. Which adds to the critic's 
problem. The man just wouldn't stop and pose for the defini- 
tive portrait. He just wouldn't slide symmetrically into an 
academic pigeonhole. What shall we call him? Sage? Wise 
teacher? Calypso guru? Under what index heading do we file 
the smiling prophet? The nuclear age bodhisattva? 


Homage to Huxley [ 311 

Many of the generation of scholars and critics who presently 
adjudicate literary reputations received their first insights into 
the snobbish delights of the mind from the early novels of 

I believe that no one under fifty can quite realize how exciting 
Huxley seemed to us who were schoolboys or undergraduates 
in the 'twenties ... he was a popularizer of what, at the time, 
were "advanced" ideas ... he was a liberator, who seemed to 
encourage us in our adolescent revolt against the standards of 
our parents.^ 

This obituary appraisal, a nice example of the "cracked look- 
ing glass" school of literary criticism, continues in the same 

I remained under the Huxleyan enchantment well into my 
twenties. The magic began gradually to fail after Point Counter 
Point (1928) ; its failure was due partly to my discovery of 
other contemporary writers (Proust, Joyce, Lawrence) , partly 
to the fact that Huxley himself had by that time lost some- 
thing of his original sparkle. I felt little sympathy for his suc- 
cessive preoccupations with scientific Utopias, pacifism, and 
Yoga. . . . 

Of all the misunderstandings which divide mankind, the 
most tragic, obvious, and vicious is the conflict between the 
young and the old. It is surely not Huxley who lost his sparkle 
but perhaps the quoted critic, who graduated from "adolescent 
revolt" (a dubious, ungracious, middle-aged phrase) to a static 
"postadolescent" fatigue with new ideas. Huxley continued to 
produce prose which sparkled, to those who could transfer their 
vision from the mirror to the events which were occurring 
around them. 

I believe that no one over fifty can quite realize how exciting 

ijocelyn Brooke, "The Wicked Uncle: An Appreciation of Aldous Huxley," 
The Listener, Vol. LXX, No. 1811 (December 12, 1963) , p. 991. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 312 

Huxley seems to the generations which followed their own. The 
early Huxley was the urbane sophisticate who taught naive 
youngsters that parental notions about sex and society left 
something to be improved. The early Huxley was an exciting 
coach in the game of intellectual one-upmanship, wickedly 
demonstrating how to sharpen the mind so that it could slice 
experience into categories, how to engage in brilliant, witty 
repartee, how to be a truly sophisticated person. 

But "then came Brave New World (1932) , an entirely new 
departure, and not, I think, a happy one. . . ." Yes, indeed. 
Then comes the grim new world of the 1930's and a new gen- 
eration who were less concerned with sparkling conversation 
than with trying to figure out why society was falling apart at 
the seams. The game of polishing your own mind and develop- 
ing your own personality (although kept alive in the rituals of 
psychoanalysis) starts to look like narcissistic chess. Huxley was 
one of the first men of his times to see the limitations of the 
obsession with self and never again wrote to delight the intel- 

But old uncles are supposed to keep their proper place in my 
picture album. They have no right charging off in new direc- 
tions. Investigating meta-self social ideas and meta-self modes of 
consciousness. No right to calmly ask the terrible new questions 
of the mind: Is this all? Shakespeare and Joyce and Beethoven 
and Freud is there no more? Television and computers is this 
all? Uncle Aldous, who taught us how to be clever, rational, 
individualistic, now claims that our sharp minds are creating air- 
conditioned, test-tube anthills. "As Mr. Cyril Connolly put it, 
'Science had walked off with art,' and a latent streak of vulgarity 
found expression. ..." Yes, the specific prophecy is vulgar. 

And what is even more tasteless to be so right. Within 15 
years the ludicrous, bizarre mechanization of new world fantasy 
had become a reality. The conventional artistic response to 
automation is the nihilist protest. But again Aldous Huxley 
refuses to play the literary game, insists on tinkering with evo- 
lutionary resolutions. Some of us forgot that Uncle Aldous was 
also grandson. The extra-ordinary, dazzling erudition which 

Homage to Huxley [ 313 

spun out bons mots in the early novels is now sifting through 
the wisdom of the East. 

Huxley's diplomatic journey to the East brings back no final 
answer but the right questions. He seeks the liberating seed 
while avoiding the deciduous underbrush of ritual. 

The first question: Is there more? Need the cortex be limited 
to the tribal-verbal? Must we use only a fraction of our neuro- 
logical heritage? Must our minds remain flimsy toys compared 
to the wisdom within the neural network? How to expand con- 
sciousness beyond the learned mind? How to find and teach the 
liberation from the cultural self? Where are the educational 
techniques for exploiting the potentials? Here again Huxley 
avoids doctrinaire digressions into mood, authority, semantics, 
ritual. He keeps moving, looking for the key which works. 

In 1954 he announces the discovery of the Eastern passage: 
Doors to Perception^ Heaven and Hell. Psychedelic drugs can 
provide the illumination, the key to the mind's antipodes, the 
transcendental experience. You may not want to make the 
voyage. You may have no interest in transcending your cultural 
mind. Fine. Don't take LSD. Or you may want illumination but 
object to the direct, shortcut approach. You prefer the sweat- 
tears of verbal exercises and rituals. Fine. Don't take LSD. But 
for those who can accept the "gratuitous grace," there it is. 

The age-long problem of how to *'get out" has finally been 
solved. Biochemical mysticism is a demonstrated fact. Next 
comes the second problem. There is the infused vision of the 
open cortex, flashing at speeds which far outstrip our verbal 
machinery. And there is the tribal marketplace which cannot 
utilize or even allow the accelerated neural energy. How can 
the gap be bridged? 

Aldous Huxley preached no escape from the insanity and 
semantic madness of the twentieth century. His next message 
was not one of quietism and arhat passivity. No one was more 
concerned, more engaged, more involved in the active attempt 
to make the best of both worlds. 

To make the best of both worlds this was the phrase we heard 
him repeat over and over again during the last years. Of course 

The Politics of Ecstasy [514 

most of his readers and critics didn't know what he was talking 
about. If you don't realize that it is now a simple matter to 
reach ecstasy, to get out, to have the vision, to reach the other 
worlds of your own cortex, then technical discussions of "re- 
entry" problems make little sense to you. 

But there it was. The old Mahayana question now made real 
and practical. How to apply the now available potentialities of 
the accelerated cortex? 

Aldous Huxley's last message to the planet contains the an- 
swer to this question in the form of the Utopian novel Island.^ 

This book, published in 1962, is the climax of the 69-year 
voyage of discovery. It is a great book. It will become a greater 

Like all great books it is misunderstood in its time because it 
is so far in front of its time. It's too much to take. Too much. 
Island is a continent, a hemisphere, a galaxy of a book. 

At the most superficial level it's a science fiction tale with 
heroes and villains in a fantasy land. It's a satire as well of 
Western civilization and its follies. So far, the book can be dealt 

But it's much more. It's a Utopian tract. Huxley's final state- 
ment about how to make the best of both worlds. Of individual 
freedom and social responsibility. Of East and West. Of left and 
right cerebral hemispheres. Of action and quietism. Of Tantra 
and Arhat. Of verbal and nonverbal. Of work and play. Of 
mind and metamind. Of technique and nature. Of body and 
spirit. Of religion and the secular. 

It's a manual on education. A handbook on psychotherapy 
and mind control. A solution to the horrors of the biparent 
family, the monstrous father-mother pressure cooker. 

Too much, indeed, for one book; but there's more. 

Island is a treatise on living, on the living of each moment. 

And most important and staggering, the book is a treatise on 

The easy intellectual rejection of this wealth of practical, how- 
to-do-it information is to call it fantasy. Adolescent daydreams 

2 New York, Harper & Row, 1962. 

Homage to Huxley [ 315 

about how things could be in a society imagined and run by 
gentle, secluded scholars. 

But here is the terrible beauty of Huxley's science-fiction- 
satirical-utopian manual on how to live and how to live with 
others and how to die and how to die with others: it's all based 
on facts. Island is a popular presentation of empirical facts- 
anthropological, psychological, psychedelic, sociological. Every 
method, every social sequence described in Island is based on 
data. Huxley's Utopian ideas can work because they have 
worked. It's all been done not in a fantasied future but yes- 

It has been tried and done by Huxley himself, and by his 
"Palanese" wife Laura Archera Huxley, who presented many of 
these intensely practical, down-to-earth ideas in her book. You 
Are Not the Target.^ It's a mistake to think of him as a 
detached novelist observing and commenting on the scene. 
Huxley was a tall, slightly stooped calypso singer, intensely 
topical, strolling nearsightedly through the crowds, singing 
funny stilted verses in an English accent, singing about the 
events in which he was participating. He didn't just figure it 
out he experienced much of it himself. 

Huxley's explorations with psychedelic drugs are an example 
of his engagement. His willingness to get involved. Remember, 
every person who can read without moving his lips has heard 
about what the Saturday Evening Post^ calls "the dangerous 
magic of LSD." And despite the controversy, almost everyone 
knows what is involved the mind loss and the vision. Everyone 
has had to come to terms with the new development in his own 

There are as many rational reasons for not taking LSD as 
there are facets to the human mind moral, practical, medical, 
psychiatric, mental. The real reason however it is expressed is 
fear. Fear of losing what we have. Fear of going beyond where 
we are. 

Aldous Huxley had spent years preparing himself for the 

8 New York, Farrar, Straus, 1963. 
4 November 2, 1963. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [316 

fearful psychedelic voyage, and he made it without question 
when it presented itself. Why? Duty? Curiosity? Conviction? 
Courage? Faith in the process? Trust in his companions divine 
or human? 

He did it, and the world will never forget it. 

But the gamble of the mind was not the last act of faith and 
courage. Aldous Huxley went on to face death as he had faced 
the whirling enigma of the life process. He tells us about it with 
poetic sensitivity and concrete specificity in the fourteenth 
chapter of Island* his book of the living and the dying. 

Rounding a screen, he [Dr. Robert] caught a glimpse . . . 
of a high bed, of a dark emaciated face on the pillow, of arms 
that were no more than parchment-covered bones, of claw-like 
hands. . . . He looked at the face on the pillow . . . still, still 
with a serenity that might almost have been the frozen calm of 
death. . . . 

"Lakshmi." Susila laid a hand on the old woman's wasted 
arm. "Lakshmi," she said again more loudly. The death-calm 
face remained impassive. "You mustn't go to sleep." 

. . . "Lakshmi!" 

The face came to life. 

"I wasn't really asleep," the old woman whispered. "It's just 
my being so weak. I seem to float away." 

"But you've got to be here," said Susila. "You've got to know 
you're here. All the time." She slipped an additional pillow 
under the sick woman's shoulders and reached for a bottle of 
smelling salts that stood on the bed table. . . . Then after 
another pause, "Oh, how wonderful," she whispered at last, 
"how wonderful!" Suddenly she winced and bit her lip. 

Susila took the old woman's hand in both of hers. "Is the 
pain bad?" she asked. 

"It would be bad," Lakshmi explained, "if it were really my 
pain. But somehow it isn't. The pain's here; but I'm some- 
where else. It's like what you discover with the moksha- 
medicine. Nothing really belongs to you. Not even your pain." 

. . . "And now," Susila was saying, "think of that view from 
the Shiva temple. Think of those lights and shadows on the sea, 

Harper & Row, New York, 1962. 

Homage to Huxley [ 317 

those blue spaces between the clouds. Think of them, and then 
let go of your thinking. Let go of it, so that the not-Thought 
can come through. Things into Emptiness, Emptiness into 
Suchness. Suchness into things again, into your own mind. 
Remember what it says in the Sutra. 'Your own conscious- 
ness shining, void, inseparable from the great Body of Radi- 
ance, is subject neither to birth or death, but is the same as the 
immutable Light, Buddha Amitabha.' " 

"The same as the light," Lakshmi repeated. "And yet it's all 
dark again." 

"It's dark because you're trying too hard," said Susila. "Dark 
because you want it to be light. Remember what you used to 
tell me when I was a little girl. 'Lightly, child, lightly. You've 
got to learn to do everything lightly. Think lightly, act lightly, 
feel lightly. Yes, feel lightly, even though you're feeling deeply.' 
. . . Lightly, lightly it was the best advice ever given me. 
Well, now I'm going to say the same thing to you, Lakshmi 
. . . Lightly, my darling, lightly. Even when it comes to 
dying. Nothing ponderous, or portentous, or emphatic. No 
rhetoric, no tremolos, no self-conscious persona putting on its 
celebrated imitation of Christ or Goethe or Little Nell. And, 
of course, no theology, no metaphysics. Just the fact of dying 
and the fact of the Clear Light. So throw away all your bag- 
gage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, 
sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and 
self-pity and despair. That's why you must walk so lightly. 
Lightly, my darling . . . Completely unencumbered." 

... He looked again at the fleshless face on the pillow and 
saw that it was smiling. 

"The Light," came the hoarse whisper, "the Clear Light. It's 
here along with the pain, in spite of the pain." 

"And where are youV Susila asked. 

"Over there, in the corner." Lakshmi tried to point, but the 
raised hand faltered and fell back, inert, on the coverlet. "I can 
see myself there. And she can see my body on the bed." 

"Can she see the Light?" 

"No. The Light's here, where my body is. . . ." 

"She's drifted away again," said Susila. "Try to bring her 

Dr. Robert slipped an arm under the emaciated body and 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 318 

lifted it into a sitting posture. The head drooped sideways 
onto his shoulder. 

"My little love," he kept whispering. "My little love . . ." 

Her eyelids fluttered open for a moment. "Brighter," came 
the barely audible whisper, "brighter." And a smile of hap- 
piness intense almost to the point of elation transfigured her 

Through his tears Dr. Robert smiled back at her. "So now 
you can let go, my darling." He stroked her gray hair. "Now 
you can let go. Let go," he insisted. "Let go of this poor old 
body. You don't need it any more. Let it fall away from you. 
Leave it lying here like a pile of worn-out clothes." 

In the fleshless face the mouth had fallen cavernously open, 
and suddenly the breathing became stertorous. 

"My love, my little love . . ." Dr. Robert held her more 
closely. "Let go now, let go. Leave it here, your old worn-out 
body, and go on. Go on, my darling, go on into the Light, into 
the peace, into the living peace of the Clear Light . . ." 

Susila picked up one of the limp hands and kissed it, then 
turned. . . . 

"Time to go," she whispered. ... 


^BiS^H^v ' iilli^'^'^^^^^^^^^H^Hi^^^^^^^^^^^B 





1 ""^J^^^B/f^KB/ 

' '. ' ' '^^^^^^1 



A public discussion of alternative lifestyles amongst 
Alan Watts, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder and Leary was 
sponsored by the San Francisco Oracle (1967). 


DECEMBER 17, 1966 

MARIA Exciusive: 


God and Timothy Leary 

"God and Timothy Leary" Cover of Ave Maria 
featuring Leary interview (1966). 


The Mad Virgin of Psychedelia 

The psychedelic revolution has (with miraculous swiftness) won 
the hearts and copped the minds of the American people be- 
cause (like any religious up-heave-all) it uses the ultimate weep- 
on, humor. 

Psychedelic guerrillas, disorganized bands of wise goof-offs, 
creative fuck-ups, and comedian chaplains have in 6 quip years 
effortlessly taken over the most powerful empire in world 

With music, clowning, laughter, the psychedelic revolution 
has passed through the classic sociopolitical stages of every great 
human renaissance: 

1. The philosophic preparation (Alan Watts writes the Zen 

2. The underground swell of the masses hungry for freedom 
(Allen Ginsberg howls) 

3. Accidental flareups of trigger incidents (Laredo, Texas: 
by this rude bridge that arched the flood, their flag to custom's 
seize unfurled, here the embattled . . .) 

4. Widespread guerrilla tactics (Ken Kesey's Merry Prank- 

5. The turning-point victory (the publishers of Time-Life 
get turned on) 

6. The mopping-up operations (in charge of Sergeant 

7. The writing of war memoirs, prayer books, manuals, cate- 

[ 319 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 320 

chisms, new testaments, grandiose biblical versions in which the 
accidental-inevitable is made to seem planned blueprint 

The evangelists and social historians of the psychedelic revo- 
lution have a delightful roster of hero-comedian-clowns avail- 
able for legendary canonization. 

Alan Watts is the smiling scholar of the acid age. For 30 years 
he has been converting the most complex theories of oriental 
philosophies into jewellike up-levels, wry epigrams. Cool, gra- 
cious, never ruffled, chuckling to share with us his amused 
wonder at God's plans for the planet and, with quizzical eye, 
glancing to see if we will catch on. 

Allen Ginsberg. The celestial clown. Giggling, posturing 
with complete insight, histrionic, shamelessly direct. No one, 
not even J. Edgar Hoover, can be with this nearsighted, rum- 
pled, worried, hysterical, lyrical, furry bear for 10 minutes and 
not giggle back because he tickles and hugs you when no one 
else dares. 

The Leary-Alpert-Metzner-Harvard-Hitchcock-Mellon-Mex- 
ico-Millbrook Circus backed and lurched into history, continu- 
ously making every mistake except taking itself too seriously for 
very long. (Someone was always high enough to laugh.) The 
name of our prisoner-rehabilitation project was "Break-Out." 
The Good Friday religious experiment became the Miracle of 
March Chapel to the dismay of Boston University. And it 
worked. The initials of our research organization, the Interna- 
tional Federation for Internal Freedom, spelled out the condi- 
tional paradox of the atomic age. Institutional titles, creeds, 
were invented and outgrown monthly. Conversion, excommu- 
nications, schisms, could never keep up with the changes at 
Millbrook. You couldn't resign from the Castalia Foundation 
and denounce its methods because it had already evolved into 
the League for Social Disorder, which in turn couldn't be sued 
for its theatrical proceeds because the money and the slide 
projectors had been given away and everyone was dropped out, 
camping in the woods, and how could the police get a search 
warrant to raid a sacred pine grove or a promontory known as 
Lunacy Hill? 


The Mad Virgin of Psychedelia [ 321 

The psychedelic yoga is the longest and toughest yoga of all, 
and the only way to keep it going is with a sense of humor. This 
has been known to seers and visionaries for thousands of years. 

For me, the model of the turned-on, tuned-in, dropped-out 
man is James Joyce, the great psychedelic writer of this century. 
Pouring out a river-run of pun, jest, put-on, up-level, comic 
word acrobatics. The impact of Joyce via McLuhan on the psy- 
chedelic age cannot be overestimated. 

Bill Burroughs is the Buster Keaton of the movement. He 
was Mr. Acid before LSD was invented. The soft-bodied answer 
to IBM. Unsmiling comedian genius. 

Twenty years ago today Sergeant Pepper taught the band to 
play. The classic ontological vaudeville routine. 

The Buddha smile. 

The laughing fat Chinese sage. 

The flute of Krishna tickling the cowgirls. 

The dance of Shiva. 

Om, the cosmic chuckle. 

The sweaty belly guffaw of a Hasidic Jew. 

Where are the laughing Christians? Something twisted 
grabbed the Christian mind around the third century. Is there 
any tender mirth left in the cult of the cross? 

Mystics, prophets, holy men, are all laughers because the 
religious revelation is a rib-tickling amazement-insight that all 
human purposes, including your own, are solemn self-decep- 
tions. You see through the game and laugh with God at the 
cosmic joke. 

The holy man is the one who can pass on a part of the secret, 
express the joke, act out a fragment of the riddle. 

To be a holy man, you have to be a funny man. 

Take for example Lisa Lieberman, founder and chief boo-hoo 
of the Neo-Marxian Church. Authentic American anarchist, 
nonconformist, itinerant preacher. A pure-essence eccentric 
paranoid in the grand tradition of bullheaded, nutty women 
who stubbornly insist on being themselves and who are ready 
to fight at the drop of a cliche for the right of others to be 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 322 

For five years this Lisa Lieberman has been a wandering 
guerrilla nun in the psychedelic underground. 

When she first showed up at Millbrook in 1963, Lisa was a 
school psychologist, a big, blond, loud-voiced barroom intellec- 
tual. She roved around Castalia one weekend, grandiose, 
blustering, reverent, intelligent and too drunk to take LSD. 

Then this oldest daughter of a Lutheran minister wrote a 
1,000-page pilgrim's progress epic about her 3-day nontrip to 
Millbrook, running off 15 typed pages a day and coming back to 
Castalia weekends as Christian H. Christian, crawling painfully 
up the kitchen floor, splashing in the toilet bowls filled with 
whiskey, throwing out an endless monologue of corny psycho- 
logical-psychedelic paranoia, and making feeble but mesmeric 
passes at Castalia's soft-eyed marijuana goddesses whom she 
hallucinated to be thirteen-year-old virgins. Like Dylan 
Thomas, so high, so juiced on her own cerebrospinal fluid, she 
accused us of slipping LSD into her food. 

Then she got fired by her school board for some series of 
honest, rebellious, adolescent antics and, naturally, started her 
own religion. 


Lisa Lieberman, the Martin Luther of the psychedelic move- 
ment, even when drunk, spraying blindly from her inkpot, the 
most courageous theologian of our time. 


The Mad Virgin of Psychedelia [ 323 

While the academics play word games about God's medical 
condition, Lisa, staggering insane in her study at three in the 
morning, tackles the real gut issues like: are marijuana and LSD 
really God's sacraments? Then, if yes they are, and Lisa says 
they are, then anyone who uses them, gives them, is involved in 
a divine transaction no matter how gamey, how nutty, how 
sordid his motives, so it doesn't matter who or when or how or 
why you turn on, it's still a holy cosmic process whether you are 
a silly thirteen-year-old popping a sugar cube on your boy- 
friend's motorcycle, or a theatrical agent giving pot to a girl to 
get her horny, or an alcoholic Catholic priest carrying the 
viaticum to a hypocritical sinner or even a psychiatrist giving 
LSD to an unsuspecting patient to do a scientific study. "It's all 
God's flesh," shouted Lisa, "no matter what your motives may 

Oh, yes, let Lisa be given the credit. While the rest of us were 
still involved in research foundations and poetry conferences 
and trying to demonstrate that LSD was a nice, healthy, produc- 
tive medicine for virtuous, docile Americans, Lisa was roaring 
around in a turquoise convertible with a suspended driver's 
license, drinking bad wine from a bottle and shouting don't 



The Politics of Ecstasy [ 324 

Pageant magazine reporter: You call your local ministers boo- 
hoos. Why do you use such a ridiculous title? 

Mona Lisa: We realize this title does have its absurd con- 
notations, but we have intentionally chosen something with 
absurd qualities to remind ourselves not to take ourselves too 

Pageant: You claim to be a church, but you don't take your 
own religion seriously. What do you take seriously? 

Lisa: A lot of things. But one of the things we take least 
seriously is institutional life, the thing most people take more 
seriously than anything else. We think this is one of the faults of 
modern man: elevating institutional forms and structures to the 
level of eternal verities. 

The wit and wisdom of this great psychedelic bovine is 
collected in a softcover book. The Neo-Marxian Church Cate- 
chism and Handbook. The Table of Contents reflects the flavor 
of this mad, disorganized masterpiece: 

Pronouncements of the chief boo-hoo on: 
















The Mad Virgin of Psychedelia [ 325 

Readers of The Neo-Marxian Church Catechism and Hand- 
book will learn that the seal of the church portrays a three-eyed, 
turned-on toad rampant over the motto "Victory Over Sexu- 

Tim Leary: "Lisa, I don't like your motto. It's a whiskey trip. 
It's not a psychedelic love message. Victory? Over? Sexuality?" 

Lisa: "It's my trip. Take it or leave it." 

You ask Lisa Lieberman what her goals are, and she tells you, 
"Money and power." To that silly end the last 20 pages of the 
catechism are designed as a Monkey Ward catalogue of items 
available from the Neo-Marxian Church, cash in advance, in- 
cluding for $30, a destruct box ("if opened improperly, con- 
tents go up in flames") and, for $100, a certificate stating that 
"the Chief Boo-Hoo never even heard of you and regards you 
with indifference." 

Lisa's Catechism and Handbook is that rare commodity, an 
original, personal, unashamed, naked unveiling of a woman's 
mind, the Lisa Lieberman head trip. At times padded, at times 
so involutedly paranoid that you lose the thread, at times 
sloppily falling down, but always feminine, coarse, shouting, 
praying, and in touch with Central Broadcasting, the original, 2- 
billion-year-old Sunday night comedy show. 

Lisa Lieberman came on the scene before the cool, gentle 
loveheads. She can't stand flowers. She hates rock 'n' roll. She 
has absolutely no sense of beauty. She is a clumsy manipulator, a 
blatant flatterer, a bully to the willingly weak, the world's most 
incompetent conman. She is, in short, a sodden disgrace to the 

Oh, pilgrim, if you come to visit the chief boo-hoo, you will 
see a sign on her door, "Parsonage, Neo-Marxian Church, Lisa 
Lieberman, Chief Boo-Hoo. Art for Art's Sake." 

You ring the bell and await your spiritual teacher. The cover 
of the book flies open and there, reeking the fumes of a smoky, 
sweaty twenty-first-century Martian waterfront saloon, is the 
chief boo-hoo herself: glaring, wrinkled shirt, sloppy pants. 
Reading this book is a revelatory laugh-cry trip for those who 
are ready for it. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 326 

Last night Rosemary was lying by the campfire on a bed of 
pine needles, reading the Catechism. When she finished she 
looked up, her face beautiful in the red shadows, and said, 
"Lisa Lieberman is a funny woman." Rosemary is right. Lisa is 
a not-wholly holy, funny man. 



Homage to the Awe-full See-er' 

At each beat 

in the earth's rotating dance 
there is bom . . . *' '* 

a momentary cluster of molecules 
possessing the transient ability to know-see-experience 
its own place in the evolutionary spiral. 

Such an organism, such an event, 
senses exactly where he is 
in the billion-year-old ballet. 

He is able to trace back 

the history of the deoxyribonucleic wire 

(of which he is both conductive element and current) . 

He can experience the next moment in all its meaning. 

Million to the millionth meaning. 

Exactly that. 

Some divine see-ers are recognized for this unique capacity. 

Those that are recognized 

are called and killed by various names. 

Most of them are not recognized; 

they float through life 

like a snowflake retina 

Reprinted from Psychedelic Review, No. 9, 1966. 


The Politics of Ecstasy [ 328 

kissing the earth 

where they land in soft explosion. 
No one ever hears them murmur 
"Ah, there," 

at the moment of impact. 
These men, 
these " *s" 

are aware of each other's existence 
the way each particle in the hurtling nuclear trapeze 
is aware of other particles. 

They move too fast to give names to themselves 
or each other. 

Such men can be described in no more precise and less 

foolish terms than the descriptive equations 

of nuclear physics. 
They have no more or less meaning in the cultural games 

of life than electrons have in the game of 

They are present but cannot be perceived nor categorized. 
They exist at a level 

beyond that of the black and white squares 
of the game board. 

The " 

process has no function, but can serve a function in our 

learning games. 
It can be used to teach. 
Like this. 

Take an apple and slice it down the middle. 
A thin red circle surrounds gleaming white meat 
and there, toward the center, is a dark seed. 
Look at the seed. 
Its function is beyond any of your games, but you can use 

its properties. 
You can use the seed. 

Homage to the Awe-full See-er [ 329 

The seed can teach you. 

If you knew how to listen 

the seed would hum you a seed song. 

The divine incarnates, " ," teach this way. 

They teach like a snowflake caught in the hand teaches. 

Once you speak the message, you have lost it. 

Once you know the message, you no longer know it. 

The seed becomes a dried pit. 

The snowflake a film of water on your hand. 

Wise incarnates are continually exploding in beautiful 

dance form. 
Like the eye of a speckle fish looks at you unblinking, 
dying in your hand. 
Like cancer virus softly fragmenting 
divine beauty in the grasp of your tissue. 

Now and then " '* flower bursts in song, 

in words, 




The message is always the same 

though the noise, 

the scratched rhumba of inkmarks is always different. 

The message is like Einstein's equation felt as orgasm. 
The serpent unwinds up the spine and mushrooms 
lotus sunflare in the skull. 
If I tell you that the apple seed message hums the 

drone of a Hindu flute, will I stop the drone? 
The secret of " "is that it must always be secret. 

Divine sage recognize, 
message is lost. 

Snowflake caught, pattern changed. 
The trick of the divine incarnate can now be dimly 


The Politics of Ecstasy [ 330 

He dances out the pattern without ever being recognized. 
As soon as he is caught in the act, he melts in your hand. 

(The message is then contained in the drop of water, 

but this involves another chase for the infinite.) 

The sign of " "is change and anonymity. 

As soon as you try to glorify, 





an incarnate, 

you have killed him. 

Thus the Pharisees 
were performing a merry-holy ballet. 
All praise to them! 
It is the Christians who kill Christ. 
As soon as you invent a symbol, 
give " "a name, 

you assassinate the process 
to serve your own ends. 
To speak the name of Buddha, 

(except, maybe as an ejaculation, 
a sudden ecstatic breath like, 
"Ha, ha, ha") 
is to speak a dirty word, 
to murder the living God, 
fix him with your preservative, 
razor him into microscope slides. 
Sell him for profit in your biological supply house. 

The incarnate has no function. 

But his effect is to produce the ecstatic gasp. 

Homage to the Awe-full See-er [ 331 





The uncontrollable visionary laugh. 

Too much I 

So what! 

The stark stare of wonder. 


Awe-full I 



: * 

The Molecular Revolution 

Happy Thoughts 

I am happy to be here tonight in what I feel to be a historic 
meeting of thoughtful and visionary people. 

I am happy tonight because I just got word that my eighteen- 
year-old daughter Susan, who is in Laredo, Texas, today to be 
sentenced on a marijuana charge, received a suspended sentence 
and will not have to go to jail for 15 years. [Applause] 

Salute to Allen Ginsberg 

I have more reasons to be a happy man. It is good that Allen 
Ginsberg is here. Allen Ginsberg joined us at Harvard during 
the first two or three months of our research back in I960 and 
along with Aldous Huxley can be considered as an early guru 
and architect of our work. He spent many hours sitting with us, 
telling us about what he had learned in Peru about how 

* Transcript of a lecture delivered at an LSD conference sponsored by the Uni- 
versity of California, June 1966. Because of hand-wringing on the part of uni- 
versity oflRcials, the conference was moved from the Berkeley campus to an 
uncomfortable building in San Francisco operated by the University Extension. 
The small size of the hall limited attendance to 500 persons, about a third of 
whom were scholars, a third psychedelicists and a third police officers. Allen 
Ginsberg, who had accepted an invitation to the conference, was unceremoni- 
ously disinvited about a week before the opening on the grounds that "poets" 
have nothing to say about psychedelic drugsl Allen attended the conference, 
and almost every speaker opened his remarks with a tribute to the disinvited 


The Molecular Revolution [ 333 

Curanderos ran yaj6 sessions. He told us about the drug scene 
in New York and in Berkeley and in Morocco. Allen is a 
walking encyclopedia of psychedelic lore. Above all, Allen 
taught us courage taught us not to be afraid in facing those 
unknown realms of consciousness which are opened up by 
psychedelic drugs. 

Beloved guru, I salute you. [Applause] 

I am also happy that this conference was moved from the 
Berkeley campus to University Extension here in San Francisco. 
This is where it is, and this seems to be where it belongs. 

University Extension and University Contraction 

I would like to make a comment on the move, a piece of wisdom 
which comes from my cells. My cells tell me that at every level 
of energy there is a dialogue between structure and process, 
between free energy and the organization that contracts or 
controls the free flow of energy. It is necessary with every form 
of life and every level of energy to have to have this incessant 
dialogue of the surging outward, the extension, if you will, and 
the contraction, the control. Apparently this dialogue even 
exists at the level of the University of California, where we are 
led to believe that the opposite of University Extension is 
University Contraction. 

Ttie Department of internal Cliemistry 

However, I respect both sides of this dialogue. Both contraction 
and expansion, both control and freedom are necessary. With- 
out control we have chaos, void. Without expansion we have 
robot structure and death. If history teaches us anything, it 
teaches us that in every generation the surging energy of the 
new development, the thrust of the young idea, batters against 
the aging structure and then inevitably, within one or two 
generations, becomes part of the old static structure. Therefore, 
I predict that within one generation we will have across the bay 
in Berkeley a department of psychedelic studies. There will 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 334 

probably be a dean of LSD. When students come home for their 
vacation, Mother and Father will ask not, "What book are you 
reading?" but "Which molecules are you using to open up 
which Library of Congress inside your nervous system?" And 
the bureaucratic requirements will still be with us. You will 
have to pass Marijuana lA and IB to qualify for an introduction 
to LSD 101. Meanwhile, down on Telegraph Avenue, or over 
on North Beach, there will be the growing black market in 
RNA, and voices of alarm will be raised at the new chemical 
instruments for accelerating consciousness, enhancing memory, 
speeding up learning. 

The same cycles repeat. Structure versus process. Young ver- 
sus old. We are participating this week in a very ancient ritual. 

The Old Movie the Same Old Hopes, the Same Old Fears 

For thousands of years, men and women have been meeting to 
do exactly what we are doing here in this room to study 
consciousness. It's the oldest subject matter of all. How many 
levels of reality are there? How can we reach them? How can we 
go beyond symbols? In every tribe in human history there have 
been men who have specialized in these questions, and the 
entire tribe awaits their answers. There has always been this 
tension between the shaman and the war chief. I am sure that 
secret service agents of the Roman legions sneaked into the 
catacombs, waiting for the psychedelic services to start. The 
turn-on instruments, the cross and the chalice, were quite illegal 
in those days, you know. And later, Turkish Janissaries ner- 
vously watched the Sufi dervish dancers working out their 
elaborate and precise methods for getting high, for whirling 
beyond the mind through music and dance. And papal commis- 
sioners squirmed in Rome while Galileo turned them on in 
Florence with his telescope. It's one of the oldest games in 
history and sometimes I feel as though I am taking part in one 
of those old, old, late-night rerun movies. The same cast of 
characters, the same debate, the same fears, the same hopes. 
But here we play out the drama in an awkward stage setting 

The Molecular Revolution [ 335 

large hall made of metal. Spotlights and microphones. It would 
be easier and more orthodox if we were meeting in small groups 
on a hillside, or in a sacred grove someplace, because of the 
subject matter. It's a complicated procedure, this talking about 
the psychedelic experience to a psychedelic audience. There are 
many levels of consciousness, and actually, right at this moment, 
different members of this audience are vibrating at several of 
these levels. 

Lecturing to a Straight Audience is Simpie 

Now the typical, nonpsychedelic lecturer has to worry about 
only two levels of consciousness. His job is to hold the attention 
of the audience to the level of symbolic logic. He spins out one 
symbol after another. His main task is to stimulate. To keep the 
audience from falling into the two lowest levels of conscious- 
nessstupor or sleep. The psychedelic lecturer faces a more 
awesome task. As I look around this lecture hall, I suspect that 
some of you are mildly stupefied by alcohol. If you have had two 
or three drinks before dinner, at some moment during my 
lecture, as I push symbols at you, one after another, your atten- 
tion may start to waver and your eyelids flicker a little. 

Many of you are stimulated by caffeine and ready to follow 
the sequence of symbols. 

But I suspect that some of you here tonight are at a more 
expanded level of consciousness. 

Compared to Lecturing to a Turned-on Audience 

If any of you have smoked marijuana in the last 2 hours, you are 
listening not just to my symbols. Your sense organs have been 
intensified and enhanced, and you are also aware of the play of 
light, the tone of voice. You are aware of many sensory cues 
beyond the tidy sequence of subjects and predicates which I am 
laying out in the air. And there may even be some of you in the 
audience who decided that you'd put over your eyes that more 
powerful microscope and find out, "Well, where is this fellow 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 336 

at, anyway?" Perhaps you have taken LSD tonight, in which 
case my task is not to wake you up but rather not to pull you 
down. I have often had the experience in lecturing to psyche- 
delic audiences of having my eyes wander around the room and 
suddenly be fixed by two orbs, two deep, dark pools, and realize 
that I am looking into someone's genetic code, that I have to 
make sense not to a symbolic human mind, nor to a complicated 
series of sense organs, but I have to make sense to many evolu- 
tionary forms of life an amoeba, a madman, a medieval saint. 

Now another problem of communication tonight is that there 
are many professional and age groups present. We have just had 
a list of the many disciplines attending this conference, includ- 
ing the young and the nonprofessional. I would like to be able 
to speak directly and to make contact with every person repre- 
senting every social and professional group that is here tonight. 
That is my goal. But the problem is that you speak so many 

I often feel in this situation like a United Nations interpreter 
trying to translate at many different levels the message I am 
trying to get across. You see, if I were to talk just to the young 
LSD users in the room, almost anything I chanted would 
probably get the message across. I could read the San Francisco 
telephone book and be greeted with enthusiastic applause. 

Now, that's really not such a far-out idea. You see, the white 
section of the telephone book has a labeling and a space-time 
location of every ego game in San Francisco, and the yellow 
section has a listing, from Abbey Rents to Xerox, of every social 
game in San Francisco, and the turned-on person who listens to 
a simple recital of that gamut of game labels would get the 
entire evolutionary message. 

So I'm not worried about the young and the turned-on. I am 
more concerned about the law-enforcement agents in this room, 
those whose job it is to turn us off. It is probable that there has 
never been a scientific, scholarly meeting in the history of our 
country which has had the benefit of so many law-enforcement 
officers present. Why are there so many secret police agents at 
these meetings? There is certainly no threat posed to property 

The Molecular Revolution [ 337 

or person by the gentle people who comprise this audience. 
What is the threat that attracts the police? Perhaps it is the 
danger of new ideas. History teaches us that at other times and 
in other countries, police agents swarmed to meetings where 
ideas were discussed which challenged the power of the rulers. 
How does a discussion about the psychedelic experience 
threaten the power holders of this country? Is it because LSD 
and marijuana and the other psychedelic drugs may enhance 
individual freedom? Is our government afraid of internal free- 
dom? I ask the police agents in this hall to listen to these 
lectures with an open mind. You may be learning about the 
future. You may even decide to join us.* 

I Want to Talk About Two Things 

First of all, I want to talk about the anatomy and pharmacology 
of consciousness. There are many levels of consciousness, and if 
we are going to make any sense of the LSD crisis or the drug 
controversy which is sweeping America today, we have to 
understand there are many levels of consciousness, many drugs 
which trigger off these levels and different social solutions for 
legalizing and controlling each of these chemicals. Second, I 
want to talk about the politics of ecstasy and to suggest a course 
of social action for these controversial times. 

The Eerie Power of the Word "Drug" 

We live, of course, in a drug-happy culture. There are very few 
Americans over the age of sixteen who don't use some dope to 
alter consciousness. Apparently we all agree that chemicals can 
change consciousness, but each of us tends to have his drug of 
choice to move to his favorite levels of consciousness. A tremen- 
dous breakdown in communication exists as soon as we use this 

At this point the lecturer waved merrily to two federal agents sitting in the 
third row, who smiled and waved back. Thus was affectionately celebrated the 
reunion with the two cops who busted the lecturer, his wife and his two children 
at Laredo, Texas, less than 30 months before. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 338 

word "drug." Drug! Drug! Now what is drug? It is a little four- 
letter phonetic burst drug! Spelled backward, it is "gurd." It is 
one of the most powerful syllables in America today. For many 
people, for most people over the age of forty, the word "drug" 
means one of two things: doctor-disease. Drug-prescription- 
doctor-disease-medical control-doctor-disease. Or drug means 
dope-crime-dope fiend-drug-orgy-drug-crime. These are sym- 
bols, but they are powerful symbols, and I don't know how to 
change them. 

Confident Youth and Fearful Age 

Bernie Ganser, a reporter for Associated Press, told me a story 
today which depressed me. He said that on the plane coming 
out here, he decided to do a little consumer research survey. He 
asked the stewardess to ask the pilots and the other stewardesses 
and some of the passengers on the airplane what they thought of 
LSD and what questions they would like to be raised at a LSD 
conference of this sort. The pilot sent back the message, "How 
do you kick it?" The main concern of these middle-aged persons 
was how punitive should the laws be to control it. But to young 
people the word "drug" means something quite different. If 
you say "drug" to a young person, he says, "What kind? You 
mean alcohol that my parents lush up on every weekend? Do 
you mean heroin, that hang-up? Do you mean pep pills that I 
use before exams? Do you mean pot to make love?" The word 
"drug," of course, refers to an enormous range of human 
experience, from the Buddhist despair of the drug addict, from 
the hopelessness of the alcoholic, through a wide variety of 
positive terms energy, fun, religious revelation, sexual enhance- 
ment, aesthetic kick, ecstasy, accelerated learning, and so forth. 
There is one factor in the formula to predict a person's reaction 
to LSD and marijuana. There is one variable which, if known, 
will predict better than anything else a person's reaction. It is 

About 6 weeks ago I was on a Boston radio program. I talked 
for a while, and then people phoned in questions. The station 

The Molecular Revolution [ 339 

censored the calls to a certain extent. They wanted to keep a 
balance of positive and negative questions. The first 10 callers 
were all positive. They were all young people, and they were 
asking serious, jolly questions about dosage, about oriental 
philosophy and psychology, about pharmacology, about scien- 
tific aspects of treatment and so on, except for one of these 10, 
who was an Indian philosopher from Boston University who 
said, "What the hell is going on in this country?" I couldn't 
answer that question. 

But then, after a short break, the unfriendly and critical calls 
came. It was very obvious, the difference in ages. Tremendously 
concerned and deeply sincere quavering voices of the middle- 
aged and the elderly accused me of being a devil. A father of 
teen-age children said (in a heavy whiskey voice) that the 
station's license should be taken away. It was a rather eerie 
moment, and for the first time in the 6 years that I had been 
working with psychedelic drugs, I felt an animal sensation of 
fear running along my back at the anguish and the panic and 
the anger that was aroused in these aging minds. 

The Eerie Power of Drugs 

Now, why is there this fear, concern and hope centered on the 
word "drug"? I want to suggest some answers. 

Consciousness is a biochemical process. The language of our 
nervous systems, the language of our sense organs, the language 
of our cells, the language of the genetic code, the language of 
memory, is chemical. We all instinctively know this. Somewhere 
deep in our DNA memory banks there is this intuitive knowl- 
edge that chemicals are powerful, that chemicals can change, 
that chemicals are the key. I think it's no accident that in so 
many myths passed down from generation to generation there is 
this theme of the magic potion. The myth is, of course, cellular 
wisdom. Symbols change, cultures rise and fall, but as long as 
human beings have had these kinds of bodies, living on a planet 
of this sort, certain myths keep appearing and reappearing. And 
many of them refer to the magic and wonder of the sacred drug. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 340 

At some point in the historic quest there comes the old crone 
with the potion. The old wizard with the elixir of life. Or it 
may be a frog or an animal or a witch with a cauldron or maybe 
a fruit or vegetable or a root or vine. 

Corollary to this is the fact that control of chemicals which 
change the mind has always been a source of social tension. He 
who controls the mind-changing chemicals controls conscious- 
ness. He who controls the chemical can twist your mind, can 
alter your personality, can change you and your concept of the 
world. That's why there has always been this tension through- 
out history. The alchemist in his laboratory was a source of both 
wonder and fear. The man who can turn you on always stands 
there in the background of history. The aged kings of Europe 
sent their vessels out looking for that chemical. Ponce de Leon 
in Florida, seeking the elixir of life. 

Everyone Wants to Control LSD 

In our time the straight fact of the matter is that everyone 
wants to control LSD for his own purpose. The researchers will 
tell you, "Yes, LSD is a promising drug but clearly should be 
the property of investigators only." The physician will say, 
"Well, as a physician I will say that only the medical profession 
has the experience and responsibility to prescribe these chemi- 
cals for other people." 

Then the religious people (and there are thousands of them 
who are involved in psychedelic drug research) tell you, "Well, 
there's no question that the psychedelic experience is basically 
a religious experience, but I'm concerned about all these young- 
sters taking it, because it's got to be given only by people with the 
most serious and religious motives in a place which is designed 
for the sacred experience." 

Or the hippy looks at the scientists with amazement and says, 
"What are you trying to map and study and predict all this stuff 
for? Just turn on, man! Enjoy it!" 

Of course, even the people who do not want to use LSD want 
to control it and want no one else to use it. 

The Molecular Revolution [ 341 

About two months ago I was in Washington testifying before 
a Senate committee. I was preceded on the stand by one Captain 
Trembly, who is head of the narcotics bureau of the Los 
Angeles Police Force. Captain Trembly is a good man and a 
sincere man, but he doesn't know what he is talking about. He 
is a classic example of the communication barrier between the 
generations. Let me give you three examples of the breakdown 
in communication. 

Did You Say, Give LSD to Her l\/lotlier? 

I came to Washington on this occasion with my two teen-age 
children. Captain Trembly told a story of a bizarre and danger- 
ous LSD experience that went something like this. "On Febru- 
ary 18, our agents arrested seven teen-agers taking LSD. We 
took them to the station. One fifteen-year-old girl wished to go 
home in order to give LSD to her mother in her coffee cup so 
that they could reach a higher level of communication." 
mother! drug! Senator Dodd looked agape at Senator Ken- 
nedy. "Did you say, 'Give a drug to her mother?' " Drug. Dope. 
Drug. Doctor. Disease. Drug. I looked over at my son and 
daughter, and we nodded. The person who has had a positive 
LSD experience naturally wants to share it with his loved ones. 
Of course this daughter wants to turn on her mother. 

in Defense of Eating Baric off a Tree 

Captain Trembly told a second story. He said his agents ar- 
rested two men on a lawn in Hollywood. They were eating grass 
and bark off a tree. Senator Dodd said, "Eating grass! Bark off a 
tree!" Captain Trembly said, "Yes, and one of them was a 
Princeton man." Well, I know that to any of you who have not 
taken LSD this sounds pretty bizarre. You think of these two 
men with a knife and fork and a plate dining on grass and bark. 
Actually, anyone who has been in communication with his cells 
realizes that from the standpoint of your DNA code this busi- 
ness of eating meat is really a fad that has just developed in the 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 342 

last few hundred generations, and that actually the DNA code 
in every cell in your body has been designing grass and bark 
eaters for about a million generations, that plastic steaks from 
Safeway still don't make sense to my cells. Very often during an 
LSD session a person does take a flower, take grass, take bark 
and reflectively chew it and relive the past. It looks bizarre, but 
it makes a lot of sense to your cells. 

The Fuzz Holds the Drug 

Captain Trembly then did a third thing which was extremely 
interesting. At one point he reached in his bag and he held out 
a bottle and he said, "This is LSD." Perhaps some of you saw 
the UPI wirephoto picture. As he did that, I was led to specu- 
late. The facts of the matter are that Captain Trembly was the 
only man in the room who was legally allowed to do that. There 
were no doctors in the room with that special public health 
permit to give LSD in a mental hospital with a government 
grant. There was no one in the room with a legal right to stand 
there and hold that bottle. Senator Dodd could not do it. Even 
Senator Kennedy! Police power I 

Anything which changes consciousness is a threat to the 
established order. This is one issue on which the entire spec- 
trum of political opinions agrees. There's one place where you 
can get a John Bircher to vote side by side with a Communist. 
There's one place where right and left agree. Anything which 
expands consciousness is out! You have the strange phenome- 
non in California of both Governor Brown and Ronald Reagan 
rushing over each other to be the first to denounce our current 
key to the spiritual experience. 

Chemicals Are the Keys to Changing Consciousness 

Before you can understand or discuss the politics of ecstasy, you 
have to understand the anatomy and pharmacology of the 
different levels of consciousness. Consciousness is energy re- 
ceived and decoded by a structure. There are as many levels of 

The Molecular Revolution [ 343 

consciousness in the human body as there are anatomical struc- 
tures to receive and decode energy. Since consciousness is a 
biochemical process, chemicals are the keys to the different 
levels of consciousness. 

This is the dizzying discovery of the psychedelic age. There 
are as many distinct levels of consciousness as there are neural, 
anatomical, cellular, subcellular structures within the human 
body. And chemicals to turn them on. 

The mystical visionary experience no longer need be m- 
effable, undescribable. Consciousness (energy) is based on 
physical and physiological structure.* 

The explosion of the psychedelic age is directly symmetrical 
with the multidimensional expansion of external science. Five 
hundred years ago man's perspective of the outside world was 
unidimensional the macroscopic world of the naked eye, 
clearly visible or dimmed by fog or smoke. Then the invention 
of magnifying lenses brought into focus new levels of reality. 
Each new magnification structure required a new science, a new 
language to deal with the new level of reality (formerly invis- 
ible to the naked eye) . Microscope, telescope, electron micro- 
scope, radio telescope. 

Psychedelic chemicals perform exactly the same function for 
inner vision. Each class of drug focuses consciousness on a new 
level of energy. Each level of drug defines a new science and 
requires a new language.** 

I have suggested in an earlier chapter that there are 7 broad 
levels of consciousness, each brought into focus by specific 
chemicals and each centered on structures within the body. 

1. Solar (soul) : Awareness of energy transactions among 

My equating consciousness with energy is based on my own psychedelic 
laboratory observations. I have been interested to note that in Tantric Buddhism 
and Tantric Hinduism the key term vnarn par ses pa (or vijnana) can be 
translated "consciousness," "energy," "discrimination." Cf. Ageliananda Bhar- 
ati's profound text. The Tantric Tradition, pp. 84-85. 

It will be obvious to the alert reader that this is a restatement of the an- 
cient Hermetic-alchemical formula "What is without is within." Each level of 
energy which man has discovered outside exists within his body and is avail- 
able to conscious discrimination. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 344 

molecular structures inside the cell triggered off by large doses 
(300 gammas) of LSD. 

2. Cellular: Awareness of energy transactions within the cell 
triggered off by moderate doses of LSD, large doses of mesca- 
line, peyote, psilocybin. 

3. Somatic: Awareness of energy transactions within the 
neural plexes mediating organ systems triggered off by moder- 
ate doses of mescaline, psilocybin, MOA, small doses of LSD, 
large doses of hashish. 

4. Sensory: Awareness of energy transactions within endo- 
crine systems and neural networks concerned with sense organs 
triggered off by marijuana. 

5. Symbolic: Awareness of energy transactions within the 
endocrine systems and cortical areas mediating conditioned 
learning triggered off by seratonin, coffee, tea, nicotine, meth- 

6. Stupor: Awareness of energy transactions within the endo- 
crine systems and precortical CNS areas mediating affect and 
emotion triggered off by alcohol. 

7. Silence-sleep: Unconsciousness triggered off by chemicals 
(narcotics) which affect endocrine systems and precortical CNS 
areas mediating sleep and coma. 

Seven new sciences of psychedelic psychology are thus de- 

1. Molecular psychology (psychophysics) 

2. Cellular psychology (psychobiology) 

3. Somatic psychology (psychophysiology) 

4. Sensory psychology (sensory physiology) 

5. Learning psychology (psychoengineering) 

6. Emotional psychology (psychopolitics) 

7. Psychology of the unconsciousness (psychoanesthesiology, 

These levels of consciousness and the relationships between 
certain drugs and each level of consciousness are, of course, 
hypothetical. Psychedelic pharmacology and psychedelic neu- 
rology will refine and revise these speculations. The value of 
these hypotheses is that they are cast in operational, concrete. 

The Molecular Revolution [ 345 

objective language. Take, for example, the statement: "Mari- 
juana alters the biochemistry of the neural plexes mediating 
sense organs." This is a heuristic statement, i.e., it suggests a 
specific set of experiments. My language and my hypotheses are 
superior to the current language of psychopharmacology, which 
is bogged down in vague prescientific abstractions such as 
"Marijuana is an intoxicant" or "Cannabis is a euphoriant." 

I don't care if my hypotheses are confirmed. I do care that 
pharmacologists and neurologists abandon their superstitions, 
moralistic language, and start studying the specific relationships 
between neural centers and different psychedelic drugs. 

My task is not to be found "right" but to found the right 
sciences with appropriate linguistic sophistication to relate ex- 
ternal events to systematically defined inner observations. 

In the near future, each of these psychedelic sciences will be 
as complex and will involve as many scholars, technicians, 
educators as biology, physics, engineering. 

Molecular psychology, studying the interactions between the 
nervous system and molecular events inside the body, will be as 
important as physics. 

Each of these seven broad classes of inquiry will be divided 
into the obvious subclasses. Sensory psychology, for example, 
will include the following divisions: 

psychedel ic optics 

psychedelic acoustics 

psychedel ic tactics 

psychedelic olfaction 

psychedelic gustation 

psychedelic kinesthetics 

Students will specialize in these fields. Enormous industries 
will be devoted to the production of the precisely formulated 
external energies which are required by the tutored sense or- 
gans of a turned-on populace. 

In our present primitive state we have industries devoted to 
the production of the state of consciousness which I call level 6: 
emotional stupor. The liquor industry manufactures the chemi- 
cals and then sponsors the appropriate art form TV shows 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 346 

which are perfectly tuned to emotional stupor. Aggressive, 
competitive athletic and political spectacles comprise the art 
form for the stuporous level of consciousness. The consumer is 
guaranteed a show of violence heady sadistic victory for the 
winners, masochism for the losers, and another beer all around. 

Is it, therefore, so far out to predict that in the near future a 
billion-dollar marijuana industry will sponsor art spectacles 
which will stimulate and coordinate with level 4 sensory 
awareness? The sensor-consumer will light up and then be 
entranced by mixed-media television art shows with erotic- 
meditative-Zen patterning designed for level 4 reception. 

The cellular level of consciousness tapping the 2-bill ion-year- 
old pool of DNA memories will involve the most complex form 
of intellectual challenge and artistic involvement. You pop your 
level 2 pill, turn on your genetic memories, and take a specified 
reincarnation trip guided by a carefully worked out, multi- 
channel, multisensory, MV (multivision) show, sponsored, of 
course, by the Minnesota Mescaline Company. 

Each level of consciousness will require its own art form. The 
7 fine arts of the future will be: 

1. Soletics atomic-nuclear dramas 

2. Genetics evolutionary dramas 

3. Som-aesthetics bodily dramas 

4. Aesthetics (erotics) sensory dramas 

5. Ascetics intellectual dramas 

6. Athletics (politics) emotional dramas 

7. Anesthetics escape dramas 

Psychedelic Science 

During the next few hundred years the major activity of man 
will be scientific exploration of and education in the many new 
universes of awareness which have been opened up by psyche- 
delic drugs. Man's inner fabric, his moist cellular terrain, his 2- 
billion-year-old unfolding pattern, is exactly as complex as the 
outer world. 

The Molecular Revolution [ 347 

Just as the instruments of external discovery have revolu- 
tionized society, so will the instruments of inner discovery. 

Psychedelic Work 

The key concept of the psychedelic revolution is work ecstatic 
work. This central point is missed by enthusiastic acidheads as 
well as horrified burghers, each deluding the other with the 
notion of escape and naughty pleasure. 

The ancient paradox remains. The more freedom, the more 
responsibility. The more energy released, the more structure is 

Psychedelic drugs require much more discipline and know- 
how than turn-off drugs. 

Narcotics are escape drugs. They require no disciplined train- 
ing. Anyone can shoot up and nod out. Narcotics are blindfolds. 

Alcohol requires little training. Very quickly each person 
learns what booze can do, where it can take him. Each person 
develops a crude emotional repertoire tied to his drinking. In 
any case, drink a quart of whiskey and you'll be flat on your 
back. There are 7 million alcoholics in the United States and 14 
million more Americans who lurch through each evening in a 
heavy emotional stupor. Alcohol is like dark glasses. 

Coffee, tea, nicotine, methamphetamine require no training 
for use. These drugs do provide more physical energy to play 
the conditioned chess game of reward and punishment. Heavy 
use of stimulants produces a jagged, irritable state of mild 
paranoia. The coffee-drinking, chain-smoking housewife paces 
the floor, twisting, twisting the black threads of her mental 
marionettes. "Speed" guns the heavy mental truck faster, faster 
down crowded highways to the next empty city. 

The Discipline of Marijuana 

Marijuana requires extensive training. You don't get the auto- 
matic chemical hit from grass. The marijuana high involves a 
subtle interplay between the turned-on sense organ and the 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 348 

external stimuli that bombard it. To learn how to use mari- 
juana, you have to learn to use your sense organs. To listen to 
music behind grass, you have to log as much training time as 
would be required to understand and build a hi-fi audio system. 

Few nonsmokers understand the sensory training necessary to 
groove with grass. 

For the average adult, sense organs are game-playing cameras 
to pick up the cues of the game red or black pieces on the 
checkerboard. The eye is clearly made to read the newspaper 
and the ear is clearly made to listen to the telephone. The 
atrophied sense of taste is connected with the fueling process of 
the robot. The body itself is a machine to move you through the 
sequence of chess game movements that make up your symbolic 

The neurological fact of the matter is that the eye is a multi- 
layered swamp of millions, hundreds of millions, of rods and 
cones, each one of which is equipped to receive light waves and 
to fire off an orgiastic belt when it gets hit by a light wave. You 
never see any "thing" or any object. From the standpoint of 
your retina there is just light bouncing off my face, off the 
microphone, off the blackboard. Light! Light, hurtling into the 
retina of your eye, the soft naked swamp of rods and cones, at 
the speed of 186,000 miles a second! Wow! 

That's why artists enjoy using cannabis. Because they are not 
just seeing things. They are aware of and alert to this play of 
light. One of the first reactions to the psychedelic experience is, 
"Why, colors are so bright! The world seems alive! I'm seeing 
for the first time! It's alive! It's alive!" Well, of course it's alive! 
Your eye knew that all along. It's alive because it's nothing but 
pure light energy smashing into your retina. And those of you 
who have seen a psychedelic light show have some idea of what 
the psychedelic visual experience is. It's not just a sequence of 
tidy symbols one after another but an inundation, a Niagara of 
light energy. 

There is no optical instrument that man will ever make that 
is so delicate and intricate as the retina of the eye. And the 
challenge is, can you learn how to use it? The same thing is true 
of the ear. The same thing is true of all the sense organs. The 

The Molecular Revolution [ 349 

human body, as a matter of fact, is a collection of billions and 
billions of cameras, all ready to be focused, all ready to be 
turned on, to be harmonized and symphonized by the skillful 
user of this machine. I am convinced that very few people in the 
United States know how to use marijuana. 

The use of the senses or the enhancement of the senses comes 
as a shock in our puritan American culture. We are a prudish 
people. It may surprise many Americans to learn that sensual 
training has for many thousands of years been a key spiritual 
technique in almost every religion in the world. If it sounds 
strange to you that the road to God comes through the senses, 
think about the Gothic cathedral. Consider the sequence of 
behavior that the medieval person went through when he 
walked in a Gothic cathedral, that glorious instrument for 
turning on. First he centered his eye on that rose window, a 
mandala. Then the incense began exploding like grenades in 
the olfactory bulbs in his nose with that one key message it's 
not food, boy, it's not business, this is incense, the smell of God. 
The arrangement of the posture of the body, the mudra, the 
genuflection, or gesture of prayer, is a kinesthetic sign that you 
are centering your sensual energies to look within. The Gregor- 
ian chant, like the classic religious music of India and Persia, 
gets that drone going to remind you that this is a nongame 
process. That you are going within. If it seems surprising to you 
that marijuana can be considered as a key to the spiritual 
experience, don't forget that there are 200 million people in the 
world today who use marijuana regularly in their spiritual life 
or in their pursuit of serenity. 

In terms of the optical metaphor, marijuana is the corrective 
lens which returns vision to sharp, clear focus. 

The Discipline of Somatic Ecstasy 

As one moves up the psychochemical continuum away from 
narcosis, more training is required. Thus the drugs which turn 
on the somatic level of consciousness (level 3) demand more 
psychedelic work than marijuana (level 4) . 

Hashish, MDA, moderate doses of mescaline and psilocybin 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 350 

open awareness to messages from the autonomic nervous system, 
signals from the great organs and tissue centers within the body. 

The average Westerner is aware only of the grossest emer- 
gency messages from within. Hunger! Pain! Suffocation! And 
Western psychology is equally ignorant of the long tradition of 
empirical investigations of psychedelic somatics by oriental psy- 
chologists. Tan trie scholars (Hindu and Buddhist) have been 
describing and mapping somatic sensations for thousands of 
years. Elaborate and highly sophisticated manuals teach the 
science of somatic ecstasy. Tantrics call the centers of bodily 
consciousness cakras. The student is taught methods for turning 
on to this level of consciousness and systematic languages of 
color, sound, posture and symbol to communicate his obser- 

Modem neurology confirms the psychedelic scientific ex- 
plorations of the Tantrics. The brain, through the mediation of 
the autonomic nervous system, is in constant communication 
with somatic events. Your brain receives second-to-second tele- 
type messages from your respiratory and circulatory systems. It 
is ironic that we seem to require the external probing of 
physicians to guess at diagnoses which are already coded by our 
own brains. 

It is quite possible that within a decade, turned-on doctors 
will be giving level 3 psychedelics (like hashish) to patients, 
who will then be taught how to diagnose their own somatic 

The Highest Kick Requires the IMost Woric 

The sensory level of consciousness is limited to the few sense 
organs by means of which man makes his fumbling contact with 
the external world. The somatic level of consciousness is limited 
to the organs and tissue centers of the body. 

The cellular level of consciousness puts man in touch with 
the DNA chain, which goes back to the origins of life. It is 
possible for man to tap into the unbroken wire of evolution, to 
decode fragments of the coiling blueprint. Most people who 

The Molecular Revolution [ 351 

have taken large doses of mescaline or moderate amounts of LSD 
have clicked into the reincarnation line. The response to this 
experience is usually awed reverence, expressed in vague and 
corny religious mottoes. "We are all one!" "We are all leaves on 
the tree of life!" 

Few hippies have understood the genetic implications of this 
experience and have realized that a new science of internal 
paleontology, ecstatic archaeology, has begun. 

When I hear worried speculations about how man will use his 
leisure time in the automation age, I fail to alarm. The retracing 
of genetic memories back down through the myriad, multi- 
webbed fabric of RNA-DNA memories will be the major intel- 
lectual-ecstatic task of the future. The time will come within a 
century when an educated man will be he who knows who he is 
and where he comes from. Knows on the basis of direct psyche- 
delic experience. 

The level 2 psychedelic chemicals are the microscopes of 
internal biology. 

The use of level 1 drugs LSD and STP involves the knowl- 
edge of the advanced nuclear physicist. While almost everyone 
who ingests 500 gamma of LSD gets the solar vision, there is 
probably only one person in a thousand with the diligence and 
courage to understand and control the internal nuclear fission 
released by this miraculous chemical. LSD is the elecron micro- 
scope of psychology. 

The "My God Is Better Than Your God" Game 

One of the vexing social problems in the expansion and ex- 
ploration of consciousness is this: everyone has his favorite level 
of consciousness. One naturally locates God and all virtue in 
one's own favorite level of consciousness. The junkie does it at 
the level of complete void. The symbol-addictive person locates 
God and the meaning of everything in the center of his mental 

Many religions have been founded on revelations from the 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 352 

sensory level of consciousness. Certain forms of Zen, the Hindu 
and Tibetan Tantra, early Christianity, frankly and studiously 
used the senses to find inner meaning and divinity. And most of 
these God seekers criticize, condemn, and imprison those who 
do not follow their favored turn-on method. 

The classic Buddhist, of course, says frankly and straight off 
that he is not interested in the senses, that he is not interested in 
the symbol game, that he is not interested in the cellular 
transformations of the DNA code and that long, repetitious 
spinning out of bodies. He wants to get off the wheel of life. 
The goal of the Buddhist is the white light of the void, level 1, 
the silent prelife, preorganic off. 

The "White Light of the Void" Game 

One time we were running a training center in Mexico. That 
year we were using a Buddhist text, the Tibetan Book of the 
Dead, as our psychedelic map. The aim of the game was to move 
from stupor to symbol to sense to cell and finally to arrive at 
home base, the white light of the void. So we proceeded to do as 
human beings always do; we set up a hierarchical game. All 
sorts of invidious, competitive distinctions developed. "Well, I 
was in the white light 3 hours in my session last night." "Oh, 
you didn't make it at all?" 

We are a species endowed and equipped with incredibly soft 
machinery which has taken the DNA code 2 billion years to 
develop, and we live on a planet with an enormous range of 
energies, light, sound, chemical, around us. The aim of human 
education, it seems to me, is to learn how to use all of these 
levels of consciousness, just as the person skilled in optics is able 
to shift focus from the dark glasses to the cellular microscope to 
the electron microscope, which reduces everything to a dancing 
mosaic of vibrations, and then slip on his corrective lenses to 
drive home. 

Be very careful about locating good or God, right or wrong, 
legal or illegal, at your favorite level of consciousness. 

The Molecular Revolution [ 353 

The Politics off Ecstasy 

This mention of good, right, and legal brings me to the final 
part of my essay, the politics of ecstasy. 

To understand the current controversy over LSD and mari- 
juana, I think you have to realize that we are right in the 
middle of that most amazing social phenomenon, a religious 
renaissance. The LSD experience is, and the marijuana experi- 
ence can be, a deeply spiritual event. The LSD kick is a 
spiritual ecstasy. The LSD trip is a religious pilgrimage. The 
LSD gamble is that risk that men have faced for thousands of 
years if they wished to pursue what lay beyond their minds. The 
LSD psychosis is a religious confusion, an ontological confusion, 
a spiritual crisis. What is real? Who am I? Where do I belong? 
What's the real level of energy? Can I go back? Should I go 
back? Should I go on? How many of you can answer those 

When you hear about or read about a lurid account of an 
LSD psychosis, keep this hypothesis in mind. It may be pathol- 
ogy, but it might be divine madness. 

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out 

My advice to people in America today is as follows: If you take 
the game of life seriously, if you take your nervous system 
seriously, if you take your sense organs seriously, if you take the 
energy process seriously, you must turn on, tune in and drop 

Turning On 

By "turn on" I mean get in touch, first of all, with your sense 
organs (not as instruments to be used in some secular game, but 
as cameras to put you in touch with the vibrant energies around 
you) . Get in touch with your cellular wisdom. Get in touch 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 354 

with the universe within. The only way out is in. And the way 
to find the wisdom within is to turn on. 

Now turning on is not an easy thing to do. In the first place, 
it takes courage to go out beyond your mind. The psychedelic 
yoga is the toughest, most demanding yoga of all. The easy 
thing to do is to stay with your addiction, stay with the symbol 
system you have. As you expand your symbol system from year 
to year by building up a few conditioned reflexes, you learn a 
few new words, a few new techniques each year. You will say, 
*'Well, I'm growing. I'm learning." But you are still caught in 
symbols. The psychedelic road to divinity is neither a royal nor 
an easy one. As I said earlier, to learn how to use your sense 
organs with the help of marijuana is a very exacting discipline. 
The discipline of LSD is without doubt the most complex and 
demanding task that man on this planet has yet confronted. I 
often tell college students, "If you want to get a Ph.D., count on 
4 years after you graduate. If you want to get an M.D., count on 
6 or 8 after your A.B. But for your LSD, count on 30 years at 

Tuning In 

By "tune in" I mean harness your internal revelations to the 
external world around you. I am not suggesting that we all find 
a desert island and curl up under a palm tree and take LSD and 
study our navels. As I look around at the people who have taken 
LSD, far from being inactive, lazy and passive, I see them in 
every walk of life and in every age group, struggling to express 
what they are learning. The hippy movement, the psychedelic 
style, involves a revolution in our concepts of art and creativity 
which is occurring right before our eyes. The new music, the 
new poetry, the new visual art, the new film. 

Dropping Out 

"Dropping out" is the toughest pill to swallow. Whenever I 
give a lecture and tell people to drop out, invariably I alarm 
many listeners, including my friends, who say, "Now listen. 

The Molecular Revolution [ 355 

Timothy, tone it down. You can't go around telling students to 
drop out of school, telling middle-class men with mortgage 
payments to drop out of their jobs. That's just too much! You 
can't do that in a technological society like this!" Of course, this 
message, turn on, tune in and drop out, just happens to be the 
oldest message around the old refrain that has been passed on 
for thousands of years by every person who has studied the 
energy process and man's place in it. Find the wisdom within, 
hook it up in a new way, but above all, detach yourself. Unhook 
the ambitions and the symbolic drives and the mental connec- 
tions which keep you addicted and tied to the immediate tribal 

Is our American society so insecure that it cannot tolerate our 
young people taking a year or two off, growing beards, wander- 
ing around the country, fooling with new forms of conscious- 
ness? This is one of the oldest traditions in civilized society. 
Take a voyage! Take the adventure! Before you settle down to 
the tribal game, try out self-exile. Your coming back will be 
much enriched. 

The Psychedelic Migration 

Today we face a problem which is unique in man's history. Due 
to the population explosion, there is no place for people like us 
to go. During the summer of 1963 a group of us were deported 
from 3 countries to which we had gone to find a quiet place 
where we could teach ourselves and a small group of other 
people how to use our nervous systems. We made no demands 
on these countries. We actually brought money into these shaky 
economies, but we were barred. So as we looked around this 
planet, pored over maps and atlases that summer, it dawned on 
us that today, for the first time in human history, there was no 
place for people like us to go. 

A hundred years ago, people who believed as we do in the 
spiritual life would get into covered wagons and move across the 
prairie. The Mormons did it. Or 300 years ago, people like us 
got into leaky boats and sailed for Plymouth Rock. And the fact 
of the matter is, there are many more people today who wish to 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 356 

follow a psychedelic way of life than there were Puritans in 
England who colonized this country. There are probably more 
in the city of San Francisco. 

External migration as a way of finding a place where you can 
drop out and turn on and then tune in to the environment is no 
longer possible. The only place to go is in. And that's the 
fascinating thing about this new and indigenous religious 
movement which is springing up in this country today. It is 
interesting, too, that the psychedelic religious movement uses 
the same chemical aids or sacraments as the first American 
religion the peyote religion of the native American Indians. I 
wonder if this is an accident or rather, perhaps, a curious game 
of the DNA code. 

The characteristics of the psychedelic-spiritual quest are 
these: it's highly individual, highly personal. You will find no 
temples, you will find no organized dogmas; you will find 
instead small groups of people, usually centered on families, 
making these voyages together. We have discovered, as men 
have discovered for thousands of years, that the only temple is 
the human body and the place of worship is the shrine within 
your own home, prepared and lovingly designed for your spiri- 
tual procedure. The growth of LSD use in this country in the 
last few years is, if I dare say so, a minor miracle in itself. It has 
grown without any institutional backing or even recognition or 
approval. For the first 3 or 4 years it grew silently, person by 
person, cell by cell, husband and wife, you and your friends. My 
cells tell me that that's how everything durable grows. That's 
how it's always been. 

When I say that the LSD movement is highly individual, I do 
not want you to think that I am talking about individuality in 
the personality sense. John Doe. Or Timothy Leary. I am saying 
rather that it's all located inside. 

My Nervous System and Yours Is the Hinge of Evolution 

From the genetic point of view, your nervous system and my 
nervous system is a hinge, a curious cellular hinge on which all 
of evolutionary history pivots. The cosmic Fox Movietone 

The Molecular Revolution [ 357 

newsreel camera. Turn your nervous system on and focus it 
outside and you're tuning in on all sorts of messages and energy 
constellations that are out there, here and now. But if you focus 
your nervous system within, you will decode the cellular script 
and discover that the entire string of evolution on this planet is 
writ in protein molecules inside the nucleus of every cell in 
your body. 

Be God and the Universe 

Now here is the challenge. And it's the toughest and the most 
exciting challenge that I can think of. It is possible for you (in a 
way, you might say it is your duty) to recapitulate personally 
the entire evolutionary sequence. In other words, you can flash 
through the whole cycle yourself because the whole thing is 
buried inside your body. 

Every generation lives the old drama out over and over again. 
Every person can. The challenge is for you to become your own 
priest. For you to become your own doctor. For you to become 
your own researcher on consciousness. Researcher. Now there's 
a tricky symbol. Research. The cop-out cliche is to say that 
research is needed in LSD. Who dares to say he is against re- 
search in LSD? Should LSD be turned over to the research 
scientists to study the implication and possibility of the experi- 
ence? Nope. You cannot get off that easy. No government 
research project, no medically controlled scientific study, is 
going to solve your spiritual or emotional problems. And re- 
member: the textbooks only tell you what you have to discover 
yourself. Have you ever personally experienced that the world 
is round and whirls around the sun? Please do not wait around 
in the hope that others will do it for you. The medical profes- 
sion has had LSD for 23 years. And it has not come up with a 
use for it yet. And I do not blame the doctors. The psychedelic 
chemicals which expand consciousness are just not medical 
problems. LSD has nothing to do with disease or sickness. 

When people talk about research on LSD, I have a little 
formula I go through in my mind. Talking about LSD is like 
talking about sex. Now I am not against research on LSD and I 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 358 

am not against research on sex. If some scientists want to hook 
people up and study the external manifestations of their in- 
ternal experiences and if some people are willing to be hooked 
up and be studied by scientists during sexual or psychedelic 
moments, fine. But the psychedelic experience is an intimate, 
personal, and sacred one. And you, and you, and you, the 
individual man and woman, are the only one to do this re- 
search. And we cannot wait around, dealing with energies 
which are so insistent and important, until scientists or govern- 
ment agencies tell us that we can take that risk. 

Drop Out into What? 

Turn on, tune in and drop out. I want to be very clear about 
the term "drop out." I don't mean external dropping out. I 
certainly don't mean acts of rebellion or irresponsibility to any 
social situation you are involved in. But I urge any of you who 
are serious about life, who are serious about your nervous sys- 
tem or your spiritual future, to start right now planning how 
you can harmoniously, sequentially, lovingly and gracefully de- 
tach yourself from the social commitments to which you are ad- 

Well, what do you do after you drop out? This question was 
asked. A young man in the audience said, "Well, it's all right 
for you older, middle-aged fellows to go around lecturing on 
LSD, but what do we young people do?" There's so much you 
can do that it makes me dizzy to think about it. First of all, i 
you are serious about this business, you should find a spiritual 
teacher. Find someone that knows more about consciousness 
than you and study with him. And if he is a good teacher, he 
will teach you all he knows and tell you when he cannot teach 
you any more, and then maybe you can start teaching him or 
you will both go on your separate ways. But there's a tremen- 
dous amount of information which has been stored up for the 
last 3,000 or 4,000 years by men who have been making this 
voyage and who have left landmarks, guidebooks, footsteps in 

The Molecular Revolution [ 359 

the sand, symbols and rituals which can be learned from and 

Another thing you can do is to be careful with whom you 
spend your time. Every human interaction is an incredible 
confrontation of several levels of consciousness. The average 
civilized human confrontation is, "I bring my checkerboard to 
you, and you bring your chessboard to me, and we start moving 
pieces around. If we are cultured and civilized, I will let you 
make a few moves on your board, and then you will watch me 
play for a while. If we get very, very intimate and have a deep 
relationship, we might get to the point where I'll put some of 
my symbols on your board and you will put some of your 
symbols on my board." 

Anyone you meet is automatically going to come on to you 
with a fierce symbol system. And tremendous neurological iner- 
tia takes over. There is a conditioned-reflex training which pulls 
you into the other person's game at the same time that you are 
pulling him into your game. The more I study the neurology of 
the psychedelic experience, the more awed and amazed I am at 
what we do with and to each other's nervous systems. 

Only a Tiny Bit of You Is Policeman 

Well, what happens if you drop out and leave school and leave 
your jobs? (And by the way, I address here not just the young 
people, but the researchers and the doctors and the police 
investigators here in the audience. You know, only a tiny bit of 
you is policeman, only a tiny bit of you is doctor.) If you want 
to drop out of your nonlove game and tune in to life and take 
some of these questions seriously, you do not have to go on 
welfare or go around with a begging bowl. The odd thing about 
our society today is that in the mad lemminglike rush to the 
urban, antilove power centers and the mad rush toward me- 
chanical conformity, our fellow citizens are leaving tremendous 
gaps and gulfs which make economic bartering very simple. For 
the first thing, consider moving out of the city. You'll find ghost 
towns empty and deserted 3 or 4 hours from San Francisco 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ S60 

where people can live in harmony with nature, using their sense 
organs as 2 billion years of evolution had trained them to. 

To make a living these days for a psychedelic person is really 
quite easy. How? There's one thing that our mechanized society 
cannot do and that is, delight the senses. Machines can make 
things go faster and move more efficiently, but machine-made 
objects make no sense to your cells or your senses. Our country- 
men are fed up with plastic and starved for direct, natural 
sensory stimulation. As you begin to drop out, you will find 
yourself much less reliant on artif actual symbols. You will start 
throwing things out of your house. And you won't need as 
much mechanical money to buy as many mechanical objects. 
When you go home tonight, try a psychedelic exercise. Look 
around your living room and your study and dining room and 
ask yourself the question which might be asked by a man who 
lived 3,000 years ago, or a man from another planet: "What sort 
of a fellow is this who lives in a room like this?" Because the 
artifacts you surround yourself with are external representa- 
tions of your state of consciousness. 

It's All Going to Work Out All Right 

And now, a final word of good cheer, directed especially to those 
who are concerned about the psychedelic revolution. This revo- 
lution has just begun. For every turned-on person today I 
predict that there will be 2 or 3 next year. And I'm not at all 
embarrassed about making this prophecy because for the last 6 
years Dr. Alpert and Dr. Metzner and I have been making 
predictions about the growth of the new race, and we have 
always been too conservative. Let no one be concerned about 
the growth and the use of psychedelic chemicals. Trust your 
young people. You gotta trust your young people. You had 
better trust your young people. Trust your creative minority. 
The fact of the matter is that those of us who use LSD wish 
society well. In our way we are doing what seems best and right 
to make this a peaceful and happy planet. Be very careful how 
you treat your creative minority, because if we are crushed, you 

The Molecular Revolution [ 361 

will end up with a robot society. Trust your sense organs and 
your nervous system. Your divine body has been around a long, 
long time. Much longer than any of the social games you play. 
Trust the evolutionary process. It's all going to work out all 


Neurological Politics 

Declaration of Evolution 

When in the course of organic evolution it becomes obvious 
that a mutational process is inevitably dissolving the physical 
and neurological bonds which connect the members of one 
generation to the past and inevitably directing them to assume 
among the species of earth the separate and equal station to 
which the Laws of Nature and Nature's God entitle them, a 
decent concern for the harmony of species requires that the 
causes of the mutation should be declared. 

We hold these truths to be self-evident: 

That all species are created different but equal; 

That they are endowed, each one, with certain inalienable 

That among them are Freedom to Live, Freedom to Grow, 
and Freedom to pursue Happiness in their own style; 

That to protect these God-given rights, social structures 
naturally emerge, basing their authority on the principles of 
love of God and respect for all forms of life; 

That whenever any form of government becomes destruc- 
tive of life, liberty, and harmony, it is the organic duty of the 
young members of that species to mutate, to drop out, to 
initiate a new social structure, laying its foundations on such 
principles and organizing its power in such form as seems likely 

[ 362 

Neurological Politics [ 363 

to produce the safety, happiness, and harmony of all sentient 

Genetic wisdom, indeed, suggests that social structures long 
established should not be discarded for frivolous reasons and 
transient causes. The ecstasy of mutation is equally balanced by 
the pain. Accordingly all experience shows that members of a 
species are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, 
rather than to discard the forms to which they are accustomed. 

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, all pursu- 
ing invariably the same destructive goals, threaten the very 
fabric of organic life and the serene harmony on the planet, it 
is the right, it is the organic duty to drop out of such morbid 
covenants and to evolve new loving social structures. 

Such has been the patient sufferance of the freedom-loving 
peoples of this earth, and such is now the necessity which con- 
strains us to form new systems of government. 

The history of the white, menopausal, mendacious men now 
ruling the planet earth is a history of repeated violation of the 
harmonious laws of nature, all having the direct object of 
establishing a tyranny of the materialistic aging over the gentle, 
the peace-loving, the young, the colored. To prove this, let 
Facts be submitted to the judgment of generations to come. 

These old, white rulers have maintained a continuous war 
against other species of life, enslaving and destroying at whim 
fowl, fish, animals and spreading a lethal carpet of concrete and 
metal over the soft body of earth. 

They have maintained as well a continual state of war 
among themselves and against the colored races, the freedom- 
loving, the gentle, the young. Genocide is their habit. 

They have instituted artificial scarcities, denying peaceful 
folk the natural inheritance of earth's abundance and God's 

They have glorified material values and degraded the 

They have claimed private, personal ownership of God's 
land, driving by force of arms the gentle from their passage on 
the earth. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 364 

In their greed they have erected artificial immigration and 
customs barriers, preventing the free movement of people. 

In their lust for control they have set up systems of com- 
pulsory education to coerce the minds of the children and to 
destroy the wisdom and innocence of the playful young. 

In their lust for power they have controlled all means of 
communication to prevent the free flow of ideas and to block 
loving exchanges among the gentle. 

In their fear they have instituted great armies of secret 
police to spy upon the privacy of the pacific. 

In their anger they have coerced the peaceful young against 
their will to join their armies and to wage murderous wars 
against the young and gentle of other countries. 

In their greed they have made the manufacture and selling 
of weapons the basis of their economies. 

For profit they have polluted the air, the rivers, the seas. 

In their impotence they have glorified murder, violence, 
and unnatural sex in their mass media. 

In their aging greed they have set up an economic system 
which favors age over youth. 

They have in every way attempted to impose a robot uni- 
formity and to crush variety, individuality, and independence 
of thought. 

In their greed, they have instituted political systems which 
perpetuate rule by the aging and force youth to choose between 
plastic conformity or despairing alienation. 

They have invaded privacy by illegal search, unwarranted 
arrest, and contemptuous harassment. 

They have enlisted an army of informers. 

In their greed they sponsor the consumption of deadly tars 
and sugars and employ cruel and unusual punishments for the 
possession of life-giving alkaloids and acids. 

They never admit a mistake. They unceasingly trumpet the 
virtue of greed and war. In their advertising and in their manip- 
ulation of information they make a fetish of blatant falsity and 
pious self-enhancement. Their obvious errors only stimulate 
them to greater error and noisier self-approval. 

Neurological Politics [ 365 

They are bores. 

They hate beauty. 

They hate sex. 

They hate life. 

We have warned them from time to time to their inequities 
and blindness. We have addressed every available appeal to 
their withered sense of righteousness. We have tried to make 
them laugh. We have prophesied in detail the terror they are 
perpetuating. But they have been deaf to the weeping of the 
poor, the anguish of the colored, the rocking mockery of the 
young, the warnings of their poets. Worshiping only force and 
money, they listen only to force and money. But we shall no 
longer talk in these grim tongues. 

We must therefore acquiesce to genetic necessity, detach our- 
selves from their uncaring madness and hold them henceforth 
as we hold the rest of God's creatures in harmony, life brothers, 
in their excess, menaces to life. 

We, therefore, God-loving, peace-loving, life-loving, fun- 
loving men and women, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the 
Universe for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name 
and by the Authority of all sentient beings who seek gently to 
evolve on this planet, solemnly publish and declare that we are 
free and independent, and that we are absolved from all Allegi- 
ance to the United States Government and all governments con- 
trolled by the menopausal, and that grouping ourselves into 
tribes of like-minded fellows, we claim full power to live and 
move on the land, obtain sustenance with our own hands and 
minds in the style which seems sacred and holy to us, and to do 
all Acts and Things which independent Freemen and Free- 
women may of right do without infringing on the same rights of 
other species and groups to do their own thing. 

And for the support of this Declaration of Evolution with a 
firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, and 
serenely confident of the approval of generations to come, in 
whose name we speak, do we now mutually pledge to each other 
our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ 366 

The Constitution of Life 



Section 1: The Laws of God as expressed in the evolving 
principles of Biology and Physics are the Only and Supreme 
Power of the Planet. 

Section 2: The governing of human affairs shall be based on 
this basic principle: Love God and every living creature as 

thyself. LOVE-EVOLVE. 

Section 3: No rules shall be established by man which inter- 
fere with the harmonies and rhythms of nature or the rights 
of Other men or other species to evolve according to the Divine 


Section 1 : The organization of Freemen and Freewomen into 

small social units for the purpose of physical and spiritual 

growth is recognized as a basic part of the unfolding Law of 


Section 2: Tribes are defined by territory collectively leased 

from God and by an individual tribal style of life and worship 

freely chosen. 

Section 3: Tribes shall establish game rules governing their 

own style of life and worship. Such rules shall have authority 

Neurological Politics [ 367 

only within the tribal territory and shall not interfere with 
the physical and spiritual growth of other species in their 
territory and other species and tribes outside their territory. 
Section 4: The territory and natural resources leased by any 
Tribe shall be proportional to the numbers of tribe members. 
Section 5: No tribe shall number more than 360 persons over 
the age of fourteen and under the age of fifty years. 
Section 6: While each tribe shall evolve its own style of self- 
government, the following seed principles shall not be violated: 

a. No tribe shall manufacture or possess weapons (mechani- 
cal, electrical, or chemical) designed to maim flesh, cripple 
health, wage war against or coerce other sentient beings. 

b. Police shall function as unarmed umpires to supervise 
tribal games and to isolate violence in emergencies. No person 
shall exercise police or judicial authority for more than three 

c. No secret police. No secrets about other sentient beings. 

d. Each tribe shall guarantee free and equal access to life- 
giving energies. Competition and artificial scarcities shall be 
allowed only in the case of nonessential things. Competitive and 
greed games shall be considered as therapeutic expressions of 
archaic impulses, throwbacks to earlier, prehistoric epochs. 

e. The exercise of tribal authority voting and rule making- 
shall be considered burdens assigned by God and the DNA 
code to the tribal seed bearers, those between the ages of 
fourteen and forty-nine years. Persons under the age of fourteen 
and over the age of forty-nine, in consonance with the obvious 
directives of the DNA code, shall be relieved of all secular 
obligations and be free to laugh, learn, play, love God and 
exist as Holy Children of the Divine Parents. 

f. No tribe shall allow invasion or restriction of private be- 
havior within the dwelling places, shrines, or bodies of Freemen 
and Freewomen. 

g. No tribe shall compel or restrict the mode of education, 
free movement, or free communication within and between in- 
dividuals and tribes. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [ S68 


Section 1: Planetary affairs and interplanetary relations shall 
be governed by an all-life council. The all-life council 
shall protect the freedom of all species and individuals within 
the territories of the participant tribes and shall negotiate on 
behalf of Freemen and Freewomen with nontribal governments. 
Section 2: The deliberations and legislations of the all-life 
COUNCIL shall be binding on all tribes. 

Section 3: The all-life council shall be composed of one 
representative, democratically elected, from each tribe. Tribal 
representatives can be organized into regional groupings. The 
deliberations and votings of the all-life council shall utilize 
all available technical means for enhancing communication and 
coordinating information. 

Section 4: The all-life council shall also include representa- 
tives of every other species of life on the planet and representa- 
tives from future generations. These spokesmen for infrahuman 
and superhuman evolutionary forms shall be selected by the 
ALL-LIFE council from among scientists who have exhibited con- 
cern for and knowledge of the needs of infrahuman and 
superhuman generations. 

Section 5; The all-life council shall coordinate and har- 
monize the physical and spiritual growth of each tribe and 
species and shall not establish any law which favors the growth 
of any species or tribe at the expense of others. Human beings 
now living who do not belong to tribes of Freemen and Free- 
women shall be considered and honored as belonging to a 
different species. 

Section 6: A founding assembly of the all-life council shall 
be convened at the call of forty-nine tribes of Freemen and 
Freewomen who have maintained territorial harmony under a 
tribal constitution for a period of one year. 


Neurological Politics [ 369 

Reader Write Your Own 

The inflexible, dogmatic teachings of our League for 
Spiritual Discovery (which naturally change every few weeks) 
hold that every human being is born divine and that the 
purpose of life is to rediscover your forgotten divinity. 

Specifically, to relive, to regenerate, to reenact all the classic 
spiritual dramas in your own seed style and to add a few 
flourishes of your own to the good old double-helical fleshly 
prayer wheel. 

Thus we suggest that anyone who takes the Divine Plan 
seriously will inevitably spend some time and energy attending 
to the ancient tasks. 

Start Your Own Religion 

(Sorry, baby, no one else can do it for you) 

Write Your Own Bible 

The Old Testament is exactly that. Old. The garbled trip 
diary of a goofy bunch of flipped-out visionaries. Don't you 
know that God's revelation comes to us today clearer and more 
directly than it did to Elijah, Abraham, Isaiah, Jeremiah? To 
deny this is to say that God and the DNA code haven't been 
busy perfecting the means of communication, the cellular re- 
ceiving sets. Everything you ever write in your life ends up as 
your Bible. The record of your voyage. 

Write Your Own Ten Commandments 

The ethical dilemmas you face each day are similar to but 
different from those of Moses. His tortured hang-ups are not 
exactly yours. 

The Politics of Ecstasy [370 

Start Your Own Political System 

On earth as it is in heaven. 

The standard operating procedure for designing a life of 
ecstatic prayer and exultant gratitude is to write your own 
Declaration of Independence and constitute your own vision 
of the holy life. 

You declare why and how you must drop out. The DNA 
code does it at every moment of moist, electric fusion. We were 
all conceived in orgasm. 

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution 
written by rebellious American colonists expressed, in 1776, 
some far-out notions. But there have been eight generations 
since then. 

Today these two powerful documents are dangerously out of 
date. Dead parchment. You can't preserve Jefferson's seed 
under glass in the Library of Congress. 

The Declaration and the Constitution reflect the vision of a 
mechanical, Newtonian clockwork universe. A static, Darwinian 
view of organic evolution. Survival of the fittest. Pick that 
cotton, black boy! A bullet in your head, Sitting Bull! The 
horrid assumption that the white Protestant human being is 
the center and measure of all things. Anthropocentric myopia. 
No planetary perspective. 

The obsession with property, possessions, secular power. 

Do you really want to live out the trip of bourgeois, slave- 
holding, puritanical Calvinists? 

A basic exercise for the Freeman and the Freewoman is to 
declare and constitute your own righteous way. 

On June 6, 1966 (the day on which the Sacrament LSD was 
declared illegal in the State of California) , three young holy 
men in the city of St. Francis got high and declared their version 
of the vision: Ron Thelin, Michael Bowen, Allen Cohen. 

Neurological Politics [ 371 

A Prophecy of A Declaration of Independence 

When in the flow of human events it becomes necessary for the 
people to cease to recognize the obsolete social patterns which 
have isolated man from his consciousness and to create with 
the youthful energies of the world revolutionary communities 
of harmonious relations to which the two-billion-year-old life 
process entitles them, a decent respect to the opinions of man- 
kind should declare the causes which impel them to this 
creation * We hold these experiences to be self-evident, that 
all is equal, that the creation endows u^ with certain inalien- 
able rights, that among these are: the freedom of body, the 
pursuit of joy, and the expansion of consciousness * and that 
to secure these rights, we the citizens of the earth declare our 
love and compassion for all conflicting hate-carrying men and 
women of the world. 

We declare the identity of flesh and consciousness; all reason 
and law must respect and protect this holy identity. 

This chapter presents another version of the City of God, 
written in those last days of the empire when assassination 
ruled the land and when gun-collecting huntsmen, themselves 
beneficiaries of the sharpshooters' aim, looked out the bullet- 
proof windows of the executive mansions in Sacramento, Cali- 
fornia, and Montgomery, Alabama, and Washington, D.C., and 
denounced the gentle blacks, the graceful browns, the laughing 
students, the gentle longhairs. 

Reader, write your own Politics of Ecstasy. 



Classic works by 20th Century visionaries 

The Politics of Ecstasy 

by Timothy Leary, PhD 



"The Politics of Ecstasy provides a more accurate picture of the 
brave neuronaut whom I believe to be the Galileo of our age, 
albeit a Galileo possessed of considerable Irish blarney (which 
makes him all the more agreeable). Of more importance, 
perhaps, is the light this book casts on the century's outlaw 
decade at a time when Sixties revisionism is epidemic." 
Tom Robbins 

The Politics of Ecstasy is Timothy Leary's most significant work on the social 
and political ramifications of psychedelics. First published in 1968, this col- 
lection spans the period from research at Harvard to the San Francisco 
Summer of Love. Included are: The Seven Tongues of God, The Fifth Free- 
dom The Right to Get High, Ecstasy Attacked Ecstasy Defended, The 
Magical Mystery Trip, She Comes in Colors, Hormonal Politics: The Meno- 
pausal Left-Right and the Seed Center, Poet of the Interior Journey, A Trip 
with Paul Krassner, Start Your Own Religion, American Education as an 
Addictive Process and Its Cure, Soul Session, God's Secret Agent A.O.S.3, 
M.I.T. is TT.M. Spelled Back- wards. The Budha as Drop Out, The Mad 
Virgin of Psychedelia, and more. Much of The Politics of Ecstasy appeared in 
a variety of publications including The Psychedelic Review, The Bulletin of 
Atomic Scientists, Esquire, Harvard Review, Playboy, The Realist, Evergreen 
Review and The San Francisco Oracle. 

"Dr. Leary is a hero of American 
consciousness. He began as 
a sophisticated academician, 
he encountered discoveries in his 
field which confounded him and ... 
he pursued his studies ... 
beyond the boundaries 
of public knowledge." 
- - Allen Ginsberg 

This edition has an introduction by 
Tom Robbins, a new essay by 
Timothy Leary about youth 
revolutions in the 20th Century, 
and illustrations and historical note 
from Michael Horowitz, Timothy 
Leary' s archivist and bibliographer. 

Ronin Publishing, Inc. 

Box 522 Berkeley CA 94701 

$1 6.95 Social Sciences/New Age ISBN 0-9141 71 -33-X